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Big under-supply of retirement housing, warns leading agency

There are now around 715,000 homes classed as ‘retirement housing’ which is equivalent to about 2.6 per cent of total housing stock.

The figures, from property consultancy Knight Frank, says the total includes all those properties ranging from age-restricted developments to care housing. 

By the end of this year there are depicted to be another 5,500 units in that broad retirement category, accounting for three per cent of total homes built in 2016. 

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Knight Frank says provision of these properties is far too low, and that research shows around 25 per cent of over-55s would consider moving into purpose-built retirement housing at some point in the future.

This is a potential pool of demand of nearly two million homeowners, Knight Frank says.

“Increasing the provision of housing suitable for older people will have direct benefits across the whole housing market, for all generations. There is significant appetite in the market to develop and invest in the retirement housing sector and provide specialist and aspirational housing that the older generation now demands" says Emma Cleugh, head of institutional consultancy at Knight Frank.

Cleugh says that a long-standing investigation into fees in the retirement housing sector is nearing completion, which may trigger an uptick in construction. 

"However it remains to be seen whether the scale of investment will begin to re-balance the current mismatch between supply and the pool of demand in this market” she adds

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