The government’s white paper ‘Fixing our broken housing market’ outlines its new strategy for housing in Britain including several measures to make housing more affordable and accessible to buy or rent.
We understand that a policy[i] to incentivise councils, housing associations and smaller housing developers to build more good-quality sheltered accommodation aimed at the older generation, is also being considered, which may help to reduce some of the barriers to downsizing for older people.
We support these plans wholeheartedly. Our experience tells us many older people wish to downsize and sell their family home; however, the lack of suitable purpose-built retirement properties has meant many are not currently able to do so. With more people than ever before turning 70 in 2017[ii], the demand for such housing isn’t going away.
This week, Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell, also discussed the importance of building the right type of housing for people. He said, “First of all, we’ve got a lot of demographic change in the country and an increasing elderly population, so it’s not just about how many houses you build, but are you building the right kind of houses.”
We agree. As an ageing nation with a changing demographic, people will increasingly demand homes that better suit their needs as they get older. Some may be considering a smaller home that is easier to take care of; others may need access to support services.
And for many older people, the ability to free up the capital in their home to help fund their retirement is their main motivation to sell up and downsize.
As specialists in the over 55s rental market, we recognise that security of tenure is the most important consideration for our tenants. We offer the majority of our properties on assured tenancies, which means people will not have to move again, unless they choose to do so. We hope that others will soon benefit from the security of longer tenancies too.