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Baby boomers bemoan lack of suitable downsizing properties

A research report compiled by Strutt & Parker in partnership with Octopus Healthcare has revealed what the baby boomer generation expects from retirement housing.

A survey of 2,200 adults aged 65 or over found that 42% believe there is currently a lack of suitable properties to downsize into.

Some 73% indicated they currently have no plans in place for retirement housing or a care provision for later in life. 


Almost half of respondents said they would like to trial a retirement community before moving in permanently and less than a fifth said they would consider living in Build to Rent-style accommodation.

"There is a clear need for a new breed of retirement communities in the UK," says Stephanie McMahon, Strutt & Parker's head of research.

"The baby boomers have voiced objections to living in the same way as their parents in retirement."

She says that retirees want to live where they can continue to enjoy their established way of life, minus the day job.

The research study has identified a solution to the retirement housing problem and named it 'Platinum Places'.

"These are mixed-use and mixed-age, urban or edge-of-community developments in towns, cities or large amenity-rich villages,” explains McMahon.


The report says there are six main reasons why over-60s look to downsize and find a new home. These are needing more support, seeking lower maintenance, requiring an accessible home, wishing to reduce outgoings, wanting a smaller house and seeking a smaller garden.

Octopus Healthcare's chief executive, Mike Adams, says there are compelling reasons for the property industry to deliver retirement housing.

"The demographics are supportive, the market is undersupplied and there is a pressing need for well-designed and well-located stock."  

According to Octopus Healthcare, just 2% of the UK’s current stock is designated as retirement accommodation, housing just 1% of Britons in their 60s.

Charity Age UK estimates that if half of the 58% of over-60s who are interested in downsizing could do so effectively, it would release approximately £356 billion worth of property back on to the market.

“By presenting better housing options for those moving into retirement, by encouraging multi-generational communities and amenity-rich neighbourhoods, it should be possible to reduce under-occupation in the UK," adds McMahon.

"That said, successful downsizing is about choice and not social obligation."

"All of the industry players - developers, operators and government - need to work together to build housing fit for the 'Platinum Generation'.”

The full report can be seen here.

  • Daniel Roder

    This is definitely an important issue to address. If suitable properties are there, older people will be more encouraged downsize, in turn freeing up stock for younger buyers. The cogs of the property machine turn effectively and everything functions better. At present, this isn't the case, but hopefully steps can be taken to improve on this.


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