Why shouldn’t London have housing developments exclusive to the over 55s?
Posted on: 08 June 2017 by Peter Girling
A recent article in The Guardian focused on a new housing development located in a trendy part of Hackney in London and offered exclusively to the over 55s. The journalist argued the development should be open to people of all ages, but why shouldn’t older people have access to desirable homes in city centre locations?
A recent article in The Guardian[i] focused on a new housing development called Quadra, located in a trendy part of Hackney in London and offered exclusively to the over 55s. The development is aimed at people wanting to downsize to an aspirational home in a vibrant part of the capital.
The journalist Rosie Spinks, highlighted that this type of development, offered to the older market, may be at odds with the younger population who dominate this part of London who are finding it increasingly difficult to get on the housing ladder.
She argues the development should be open to people of all ages, that some people think it is unfair, yet there has been a long tradition of providing dedicated housing for the elderly dating back almost to medieval times.
This may be true however, there is a major shortage of suitable homes for older people which is set to get worse.
The UK has an ageing population. The number of over 65s is expected to increase by more than 50% to 17.2million[ii] in the next 20 years and those aged 85 to more than double to 3.2 million so this issue is set to get worse.
According to recent figures from house builders, McCarthy & Stone,[iii] only 149,914 units of owner-occupied (including shared ownership) retirement housing have been built in the UK to date, despite one quarter of homeowners aged 60 and over (3.5 million people) expressing an interest in buying a retirement home.
Only between 1% and 2% of the UK’s population of over 60 year olds live in dedicated retirement communities, in comparison to 17% in the USA and 13% in Australia and New Zealand. The changing demographics in the UK and the ongoing housing crisis suggests this will need to change in the future.
More housing is needed to suit the changing needs of the population which should include affordable homes for our younger generation and aspirational homes that appeal to downsizers. There needs to be provision at both ends of the housing ladder and a mixture of homes for sale and rent to suit all budgets.
Also, at Girlings Retirement Rentals we believe that age exclusive developments like Quadra offer many benefits for older people who want to live in ready-made communities with people of their own age.
Loneliness is something that can affect the elderly and so community living can have an enormously positive impact on someone’s health and wellbeing. Access to social activities and people of a similar age is often a big draw for people downsizing to retirement developments, especially people who are single.
Why shouldn’t older people have access to desirable homes in city centre locations? I suspect not every older person dreams of retiring to a rural or coastal idyll and older people have as much right to live in trendy, busy locations as the younger generations.
[iii] Figures from the Elderly Accommodation Counsel