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Shortage of retirement homes creates opportunities for BTL landlords

Older people are facing a shortage of suitable housing for their retirement, putting pressure on the wider property market.

A new report by Knight Frank, The Case for Retirement Housing, provides in-depth insight into the supply of retirement housing in Britain shows that developers and housebuilders, and to a certain extent buy-to-let landlords, have failed to tap into the opportunities created by an ageing population and there remains a lack of appropriate homes being constructed in the retirement housing sector.

Knight Frank point to the fact that there is currently 11.8 million people in the UK over the age of 65, which is forecast to rise by 20% over the next decade. This means that the time spent in ‘retirement’ will also lengthen, underpinning the crucial need for retirement housing.


Some 725,000 homes in the UK are currently classified as ‘retirement housing’, ranging from age-restricted developments to close care housing, which accounts for around 2.6% of total housing stock and is dominated largely by older stock in the affordable housing sector. Private retirement housing accounts for less than 1% of all dwellings in the UK.

Tom Scaife, head of retirement housing at Knight Frank, said: “The forecast growth in the UK’s older population, coupled with a need for housing that can free up family homes and help alleviate the stress on the NHS and social services, means that the case for retirement housing delivered at scale has never been stronger.

“In its basic form, retirement housing can help reduce loneliness, is a safer environment in a community setting and reduces visits to hospital. The scenario of falling down the stairs at home, commencing a cycle of increased frequency and finally, the need to go into a care home could be negated.

“With increased awareness of the benefits of retirement housing, clarity at the planning stage, and some much needed incentives retirement housing can be delivered at scale and help to tackle the social care and housing crisis in one go.”

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