‘Generation stuck’ – half of pensioners would consider downsizing if the right type of properties were available

McCarthy & Stone is a leading UK retirement housebuilder which, over the last 40 years, has built in excess of 51,000 apartments nationally.

In the first part of its annual Retirement Confidence Index ‘Retirement Housing: Integral to an ageing Britain, the company researched the opinions of over 3,000 UK adults aged 65 and over.

The survey reveals that 5.7 million pensioners might consider downsizing, and a stamp duty exemption would encourage them. The number is up by 4% on last year and based on current population figures could result in over 11 million pensioners on the move by 2036.

A move to provide more retirement housing could unlock the UK’s housing chain, releasing significant levels of housing stock onto the market.

The rising number of people considering a future downsize could release more than 2.8 million bedrooms by 2036. The report estimates that a downsize of this scale could release homes with a combined value in excess of £720bn.

With around 141,000 units of owner-occupied designated retirement housing currently available in the UK, there will be a significant shortfall in supply if the UK isn’t prepared for this ‘downsizing exodus’.

McCarthy & Stone’s CEO, Clive Fenton, said the UK is ‘woefully unprepared’ and that within the next twenty years there could be as many as 50% more 65 year olds within the population. The company is now calling on government to make specialist retirement housing more of a priority.

Mr Fenton said: “we will simply lack the necessary infrastructure and support services, particularly from a health and social care perspective, to deal with such a huge demographic shift. The Government must build on the positive wording in the Housing White Paper and consider how it can influence market supply. The Government’s Help-to-Buy scheme, and other initiatives aimed at first time buyers, have spurred market supply of homes at that end of the spectrum but has done nothing to help the housing choices of those in later life. We really need a strong planning policy presumption in favour of retirement housing and other forms of suitable housing for our ageing population.”