Ageing populations provoke the question of how much bespoke housing should be provided for the elderly. Older people are generally reluctant to move but as they age health circumstances may encourage moves into specialised accommodation. This paper aims to report on an exercise in estimating the future demand for specialised independent living housing and the extent to which that demand will be for owner occupied accommodation or renting, using data for England.
The most important predictor of demand for specialised housing is the extent of the requirement for at least some degree of long‐term care due to loss of mobility. Therefore, the forecast is formulated around a behaviour‐based model centred on demographic, personal physical mobility and housing tenure factors.
The forecasts indicate a substantial increase in demand, growing at a faster rate than the population as a whole. If supply does not rise to meet these demands, serious problems arise in the quality of life of, and cost of caring for, older people with implications for health care and social services. Moreover, some of the greatest growth is going to be amongst those aged 75 to 84 and amongst the very old 85+ group.
The forecast is based on ELSA estimates. Data on activity and ageing are available from the English Longitudinal Survey of Ageing's (ELSA) Wave 4 2008 data set.
The implication is that in the future far more provision of housing for the elderly will have to take place in the private sector. However, the market provision of specialised retirement housing is likely to be very inadequate for predicted needs. A significant cause of this is a chronic planning‐induced land shortage which keeps the price of retirement accommodation high.
The continuing shortage of specialised housing will mean that hundreds of thousands of the elderly will continue to live in their existing accommodation when bespoke property would better suit their needs. This will further exacerbate general housing shortages, especially as the empty nester elderly do often own substantial family homes. It will also put pressures on care home sector because, in the absence of an appropriate intermediate stage, more will be pushed into care.
It could be argued that the assumptions made in this forecasting exercise contain a number of essentially arbitrary statements. But that is to miss the point of this exercise, which is to suggest that a large potential demand exists on plausible estimates of who might benefit from living in specialised retirement housing.
Ball, M. and Nanda, A. (2013), "Household attributes and the future demand for retirement housing", International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 45-62. https://doi.org/10.1108/17538271311306002Download as .RIS
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