50,000 new homes for older people required each year

Christina Hoghton
Written By:
Christina Hoghton

A new report says the extra homes are needed if we’re to tackle the UK’s housing and care crises

The government needs to build 50,000 new homes for older people each year, according to the International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK).

It said this would help to tackle the UK’s housing and social care crises.

In its Mayhew Review, the Centre said that one in four of all new homes should be targeted at older people.

Author of the report, Professor Les Mayhew, said that 50,000 new units a year were needed ‘on top of the meagre 7,000 currently built annually’.

This would help older people stay healthy for longer and reduce the burden on the NHS and care homes. He added that each new home would ‘free up housing and surplus bedrooms for younger families and first-time buyers, making housing more affordable’.

Social connection

The report also looked at the role that Integrated Retirement Communities providing communal facilities and social care have to play. It said that 6.2 million older people are set to live alone by 2040 – half of them aged 80 and over – exacerbating the loneliness epidemic and stretching social services to breaking point.

Professor Mayhew called for the following steps from government to reach the levels of older people’s housing required:

  • Launching the Older People’s Housing Taskforce
  • Reforming planning rules to make it easier to build housing suitable for later life
  • Putting older people’s housing on a level playing field with all other developments
  • Cutting Stamp Duty so it is the same for last-time buyers as first-time buyers
  • Ramping up the financial advice available for older people looking to move.

He said: “The UK is failing to adapt to the far-reaching changes to society caused by an ageing population. The growth in older people far outstrips the growth in age-appropriate housing – with fundamental change needed in the way we provide care and housing to those in their later years.

“Our findings show that we need to aim big and hit the 50,000 mark on a yearly basis when it comes to new homes for older people. If we do so, the benefits will be huge – for the health and wellbeing of older people, for the NHS, and for younger people getting on the housing ladder.”

Damian Green MP, chair of the parliamentary group on longevity, added: “Professor Mayhew’s report provides a stark illustration of the current mismatch between the needs of our ageing population, and the housing and care options on offer.

“We’re not just talking about a drop in the ocean in terms of the new homes needed for older people, we’re talking about tens of thousands that need building each year.

“The Government needs to move ahead with its cross-department work to expand older people’s housing, including reforms to planning and strengthening consumer protection.”