Legal and General Enter Retirement Property Market

The FTSE 100 company, Legal and General, has entered the retirement property market in a direct and quick way by buying the Inspired Villages Group.

The Inspired Villages Group was once a joint venture between English Care Villages and Places for People, which is a Housing Association. The entire company has been taken over including the management and two partially completed Care Villages in Cheshire and Warwick.

Especially in America, but also in Australia, the Retirement Home sector is huge. In the UK the sector is comparatively small with only some 7000 units built. L&G perceives a huge demand over the coming years with some 3.3 million people in Britain looking to downsize over the next few years.

Meeting the UK’s demographic, healthcare and affordable living needs, and consistent with Legal & General’s housing growth strategy, Inspired Villages will accelerate the evolution of the sector. Creating around 3,000 new, quality homes over the next five years; L&G’s aim is to become a leading ‘later living’ housing operator.

The UK continues to have a chronic shortfall of over 100,000 homes per year. According to L&G’s Last Time Buyers report, there are 3.3m Last Time Buyers looking to ‘rightsize’ in the UK. The over 65s age bracket is growing five times faster than the working age population, yet only 7,000 homes were delivered to this sector last year making it the most under-supplied area of the housing market.

Inspired Villages is targeted towards people whose existing homes no longer suit their needs. Established in 2009, English Care Villages has worked with Anchor Trust to develop Bishopstoke and Yateley in Hampshire, utilising experience from Richmond Villages. Inspired Villages has two current schemes, in Warwick and Cheshire, comprising over 300 homes and a GDV of around £110m. The schemes aim to create safe, secure, social and comfortable village environments in which residents can celebrate the freedom of later life.

Head of Later Living at L&G Capital, Phil Bayliss, said: “It is widely recognised that the UK is underprepared to support its ageing population. Over three million over 65s are looking to downsize and only 7,000 housing with care properties are being built each year. The UK suffers from a chronic undersupply of age-specific housing as well as spiralling health and social care spend. We believe our long term capital can deliver significant housing, health and wellbeing benefits for those in ‘later life’.

“Through our investment in Inspired Villages, we are partnering with a best in class management team who have the track record of delivery and a like-minded long term vision to create sustainable communities that support people through their later life. Our homes will provide our customers with an opportunity to use equity locked up in houses that are too big to manage to improve their quality of life and remain in their communities.”

CEO of Inspired Villages, Jamie Bunce, said: “With Legal & General’s investment in Inspired Villages we will create communities across the whole of the UK where people want to live. We will reinforce the family ethos with support and services provided as required. An Inspired Village is more than just bricks and mortar, we are creating positive environments where people can remain socially engaged, comfortable, safe and secure while they enjoy later life.”