Prime Minister Theresa May recently met with retirement housebuilder, McCarthy & Stone, to discuss how building more specialist retirement housing can help address the social care and housing crises.
The number of specialist homes for older people will need to increase by 400,000 units in less than 20 years as a result of our ageing population, according to a recent analysis by the Local Government Association.
May visited Swift House, McCarthy and Stone’s new Retirement Living Plus, where she met with McCarthy and Stone’s Chief Executive Officer, Clive Fenton, and Regional Managing Director, Brendon O’Neill.
May said, “Swift House provides an excellent option for those in retirement to downsize and benefit from a supportive environment while maintaining their independence. And it’s clear its staff work very hard to make Swift House a safe and welcoming place to live.
Clive Fenton, Chief Executive Officer at McCarthy and Stone, said, “It was a real pleasure to welcome the Prime Minister to our Swift House development in Maidenhead. I’d like to personally thank her for her time, and for speaking so highly of the work that has been carried out here.
“Increasing the supply of retirement housing is vital to meeting the demands of our increasingly ageing society, while raising housing output and diversifying the market. It also frees up the wider housing chain through a trickle-down effect: each person moving into a retirement apartment typically frees up a minimum of two further moves on the ladder which could be for a family or a young couple buying their first home.
“The benefits are wide reaching, particularly where it can reduce adult social care bills by keeping people happier, healthier and independent for longer, taking some of the strain away from the NHS and the public purse.”
The UK’s ageing population are an increasingly crucial part of our housing market. England will have 14.7 million over 65s by 2025, compared with 11.7 million today. The over 65 age bracket currently occupies a third of all houses.
With the Autumn Statement approaching, there have been calls to incentivise the UK’s aged population to downsize by making an exemption to Stamp Duty.
According to McCarthy & Stone’s annual Retirement Confidence Index (RCI), 5.7 million people aged 65 and over are considering downsizing or would be encouraged to move with a one-time stamp duty exemption. According to calculations, downsizers moving now would help unlock 2.8 million bedrooms across the UK.