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Insight & Opinion

Are purpose built properties the future for the over-55s?

Author: Gemma

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The care homes market in the UK is big business, with more and more investors gravitating towards it in recent years. With traditional care homes repeatedly receiving bad press and more older people looking for ways to live independent lifestyles while getting the care they need, the demand for new build care specialist housing is on the rise.

This fact has been highlighted further this week with the news that house builder Barratt Homes is to start a new investment in specially-built homes for the over-55s market. Traditionally focussed on four-bedroom family houses, the company will now be building one-bedroom homes that are specifically catering for the needs of older people.

Demand for homes specially built for older people is on the rise. Three-quarters of people aged over 60 own their own home, but many are still living in properties that they brought their families up in long after the kids have flown the nest.

In fact, 12 per cent of people who are at retirement age (1.36 million people) are looking to downsize according to MGM Advantage, showing that there is a real demand for homes that cater to the needs of older people.

Mark Clare, Barratt chief executive, told the Financial Times: “There is a growing segment of non-mortgage-constrained affluent downsizers – people who don’t need a mortgage in order to move house.”

Downsizing is something that the government has been trying to encourage over the last few years thanks to the lack of supply in the property market. The fact that older people live in homes that are too big for them means that younger buyers struggle to move up the ladder.

This has opened the door for a new wave of property types for older people. As well as smaller homes that are built with the over 55s in mind, demand has also risen for modern care homes. Built in blocks, these new kinds of facility allow older people to live in serviced apartments that offer them the chance to live independently while also enjoying access to the care they need.

These apartments also have access to social areas and facilities for carrying out activities such as gardening.

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