“BabyBoomers Housebound”

Two weeks ago I wrote about a very upmarket retirement housing project in London.  Only very wealthy people need apply because it was a money-no-object solution for downsizers with pots of gold at the end of their rainbow time working and living in London.

Now I want to look more widely at the rapidly emerging market of private providers of retirement housing, all looking to tap into the £1.3 trillion equity that older people have locked up in their family homes.  The “downsizers” also more recently referred to as “rightsizers”.

The market is being driven by three key factors:-

  1. The changing demographics of the older population.   23% of the UK population is now over 60 and as more of the baby boomer generation retire, the proportion will increase to 29% in the next 20 years.   They more then previous generations have accumulated wealth through the over-inflated growth in house values in the latter half of the last century.
  2. The lack of retirement housing options.    Only 2% of the existing housing stock is made up of specialist housing for retired people, leaving aside the ever-unattractive option of last resort – residential care.    Historically, most newly built retirement housing has been provided for rent either by Local Authority’s or Housing Associations.    There has been some limited provision of home ownership by both Housing Associations and private developers,  almost exclusively built on the 1960 model of sheltered housing.     It is a model that has lasted well but is now looking tired.
  3. The prospect of loneliness / isolation and frailty.  This is the least understood elephant-in-the-room issue that few people want to face.   The newly retired live in hope that it will never happen to them, so they hang to what they have got.    For the majority in the early years of retirement they can happily continue to turn a blind eye to the future.

The demographics should be a major driver for transforming this sector of the housing market and it is for the lucky few who have sufficient funds to buy into the luxury end of the market or are fortunate to live near recent new build options in the social housing sector.

Sadly the other two factors are more of a drag than a driver for most people who could be players in the market.

I’ll look at some of the current options in the weeks ahead.

This entry was posted in RETIREMENT HOUSING, Sheltered Housing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to “BabyBoomers Housebound”

  1. this is an intriguing look, at modern later life. The ideal for the affluent, is relatively easily attained. One of the problems for the majority of UK citizens is how to be objective, supportive, and yet provide caring accommodation and a worth while lifestyle without socially pigeon holing persons into social sectors.
    I believe we need a method of social integration balanced, by economics supported by all sides of the housing divide (private/share/social), such that no one party becomes , the overloading society, by previous prejudices.
    This involves us all of society and the willingness to of each of us as individuals in old age to be tolerant, with respect to creed, politics, income, sex, religion, and other minor beliefs such that we can all live cheek by jowl with respect for one and other, with good Christian values, and a deep consideration for the justice and the laws of the land.

  2. Oh dear the ‘Old Farts’ society’ here once again upon the soapbox. What do we do as a society, we are if I may speak freely those of us the majority now in retirement, being paid monies from where??? The POT is only so large, and if one does not pop ones clogs, and the pensions increase and no incoming funds, who pays us are due deserts as we approach that 85+ age group.
    The Government though state pensions and other calls for the aged such as the UK NHS, ( Of whom the elderly may be the greater beneficiaries, apart from the young). Is there a state rule that pensions are restricted to the elderly however earned/awarded or won -(a true socialistic ideal), or should we be allowed to enjoy the fruits of our previous labours? Answers on a post card please!!!
    Tax raises its ugly head, and death, two likely events in life! Do we give time and cognisance to these issues, and discuss them rationally, or as the ‘Referendum’ on the EU approaches, close our mind to such concerns, and vote against immigration -the future wage earners for UKPLC, who can help the UK Government replenish the kitty?
    We have foreign investors buying selling and adulterating the UK property market for gain, again do we have an open society, and when do we fight back, and at what cost are we prepared to pay as individuals in the UKPLC.
    It is a complex situation, as always we must as a society be prepared to pay our debts and be ‘Modest’ with our outlook into what returns we may require as UKPLC. The world is cruel, and as BRITS we are no shinning angels or paragons of virtue! However with our beliefs in fairness, we should be able to come to some equitable solution, for ourselves-‘Off course’ and the nations and persons with whom we trade.
    It is interesting the make up of the UK constitution, with the crown, judiciary, and the politicians (Lords and Commoners), and then ‘Aunty’- the men and women in grey suits, who may devote some of their working life to the ‘What If Questions’ and challenge/research and advise parliament, as to what may be a safer road to take, and then the enlightened politician who may give the ‘British Public’ the right to debate in a societal role without political bias, where The UKPlc should stand.
    I am off my soap box/Kipper box, going now for a warm cup of char. Good reading fellow citizen

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