Brexit, Brits abroad and the need to house our ageing population

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Brexit, Brits abroad and the need to house our ageing population

Brexit, Brits abroad and the need to house our ageing population

Jennifer Heron 13 Sep 2016
Nearly three months have now elapsed since the UK voted to leave the European Union. Whilst we have seen a change in leadership with a new Prime Minster and ongoing speculation about what the current period of uncertainty will bring – what has remained a constant is that the UK is still in the midst of a housing crisis.

Teresa May, in her speech which set out the Government’s priorities, pledged to do more to push up the production of new housing stating that:
Unless we deal with the housing deficit, we will see house prices keep on rising. Young people will find it even harder to afford their own home. The divide between those who inherit wealth and those who don’t will become more pronounced.
Recent news reports have also highlighted that home ownership in England has fallen to its lowest level in 30 years[1].
Additionally, noting that interest in the private rented sector has intensified since the referendum, housebuilders are increasingly looking to private rented sector investors and developers to ensure that sites are built out to meet a demand for ‘Build to Rent’ (BTR) outside the owner occupier market. Property Week[2] recently reported that:
Fearing a slowdown in the housing market following the Brexit vote, housebuilders are increasingly looking to strike deals with private rented sector investors and developers to help keep developments ticking over.
All of the above, quite rightly, highlight the plight of the younger population attempting to take a first step to home ownership. However, the perpetual need to provide adequate housing for the older population – a rapidly growing age group - is also often overlooked to in the housing debate.

As can be seen in NLP’s recent Ageing Population Research Note, the latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) 2014-based population projections suggest that the over-65s will grow at the fastest rate compared with other age groups in every region of the UK. They show that by 2039, a quarter of England’s population will be over 65, whilst the number of people aged over 85 is projected to more than double to just over 3 million.
Figure 1
Coupled with this, it is notable that currently, up to a third of the 1.4m Britons who live elsewhere in the EU are retired and, whilst the effect of Brexit is yet to be felt, it is possible that the number of Brit’s retiring abroad could reduce, meaning more retired people remaining in, or returning to, the UK – and needing appropriate housing options.

The National Planning Policy Framework’s (NPPF) paragraph 47 requires local planning authorities to meet full needs for housing in a housing market area, including the needs of older people. Indeed, the NPPF reiterates that this need can be met in a variety of ways, setting out that:
People over retirement age, including the active, newly-retired through to the very frail elderly, whose housing needs can encompass accessible, adaptable general needs housing for those looking to downsize from family housing and the full range of retirement and specialised housing for those with support or care needs. (NPPF Annex 2)
So whilst attention should rightly continue to remain focussed on ensuring that the housing needs of the younger population are met, there is a clear need to ensure that the wider debate on how to meet need encompasses the housing needs of the older population, and the range of products required.

In response to this, NLP has re-launched its CAREpacity toolkit which aims to provide a helping hand to developers seeking to deliver housing for older people. It includes a range of tools designed to aid developers in:
  • Identifying future development opportunities;
  • Demonstrating the need for development;
  • Quantifying and clearly communicating development benefits;
  • Assessing the economic viability of development.
For more information on CAREpacity, please see our flyer or contact NLP directly.

[1] Guardian

[2] Property Week