Lack of luxury retirement homes fuels housing shortage, developer warns

Ministers have been urged to release more land to host homes for the ageing population as many retirees struggle to find properties to downsize.

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Britain is suffering a shortage in homes for young families and first-time buyers as an increasing number of retirees stay in larger homes, according to the luxury housebuilder Brookworth Homes.

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Managing director Gavin Rowley said: “People are living longer and there’s a growing number of elderly people living in three to four bedroom homes wanting to downsize but not having the option to move to a luxury new-build home that is smaller but also modern.

“New-builds are often built with first-time buyers in mind. But why shouldn’t we be building for those who have retired to release homes for younger people with small families. This in turn will provide more starter homes for first-time buyers.”

Brookworth Homes, which was formed in 2000, specialise in luxury properties and deliver around 100 houses per year. Its flagship development, Skylarks in east Sussex, is partly targeting wealthy downsizers with high-specification homes at up to £2m.

Frustration with a lack of availability of similar sites comes as research showed that a million more bedrooms will be locked out of the housing market over the next 10 years as England’s ageing population struggles to downsize.

From 2022 to 2032, the number of homeowners living in properties with two or more spare bedrooms will jump by 12pc to hit a peak of 9.2 million, according to analysis by Hamptons estate agents.

At least 972,300 more spare bedrooms will be locked out of the housing market in England compared to in 2022.

Oliver Knight, head of residential development research at Knight Frank said: “News that the UK has an ageing population is not new, but the official figures reinforce the need for more dedicated housing for seniors in nearly every location.”

Demand for retirement living is increasing and yet availability for the 70-plus age group is minimal. Official figures show that there are 11.1 million people aged 65 or older with over 95pc of local authorities having seen an increase in their share of population aged 65-plus over the last 10 years.

While Mr Rowley says that building more homes for retirees would alleviate a housing shortage, he believes that both the Labour and Conservative parties need to address nimbyism.

“The nimby attitude towards development is halting most projects. We are now back to an appeal-led planning system, where local authorities reject plans and we have to push to get them approved via appeal. It’s not sustainable.”

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