Boris Johnson looks set to prioritise house building to help boost economic recovery.
But in a letter to the Prime Minister, policy group Homes for Later Living warns that “the recovery drive will be running on empty if the Government doesn’t take urgent action to help the millions of people who want to downsize”.
The letter signed by John Tonkiss (McCarthy & Stone), Spencer J McCarthy (Churchill Retirement Living) and Mark Dickinson (Lifestory Group) sets out the social and economic benefits of building 30,000 new retirement properties a year.
It argues specialist retirement housing must be central to efforts to get the housing market restarted, while also helping ensure that vulnerable people are better protected against future pandemics.
Prioritising a proportion of new homes for an ageing population would stimulate transactions throughout the housing market, helping young families and first-time buyers move onto and up the ladder.
It would also generate savings to the NHS and social care services of £3,500 per person per year as people in specialist retirement properties are less likely to be admitted to hospital and require further care than people in mainstream housing.
This means that building 30,000 more retirement housing dwellings every year for the next 10 years would generate estimated savings across the NHS and social services of £1.4bn per year within a decade.
“Building more specialist retirement housing would be a win-win for the Government.
“It would unlock the housing market, helping older people, young families and first-time buyers. It would also assist with attempts to fix the social care crisis once and for all,” say the housing bosses.
“With the number of older people in England growing significantly, the time to act is now.
“The Government has given the housing market the green light to get moving again and we welcome this. But the risk is that the recovery drive will be running on empty if we don’t take urgent action to help the millions of people who actively want to downsize.”