Peter Girling, Chairman of Girlings Retirement Rentals says today’s Budget, the first for a majority Conservative Government since 1996, failed to address the shortfall of retirement housing in the UK and included virtually no policy announcements on the UK’s chronic housing shortage at all.
This was disappointing especially given in in recent years much of the Government’s housing policy has focused on getting first time buyers onto the housing ladder.
The government extended the Help to Buy equity scheme to 2020 and is introducing a new Help to Buy ISA this autumn to support people saving for a deposit. Under the Help to Buy ISA, potential homeowners can save £1000 immediately upon opening, plus an additional £200 per month. In turn, the government will add 25% to the contributions.
Both measures will benefit first time buyers. In two years since Help to Buy was introduced, over 47,000 properties have completed and thousands more first time buyers stand to benefit if the scheme is extended.
In the party manifesto there was also talk of a ‘brownfield’ fund to unlock homes on brownfield land. The plan will further protect the greenbelt and provide 200,000 starter homes.
Whilst we would welcome plans to help the ‘bottom of the ladder’ we strongly believe that purpose built retirement property for sale and rent must be included as part of any future housing mix.
The latest ONS housing figures revealed that the average age of UK residents has crept up to 40 for the first time and that 18% of the population are over 65. By 2030, a quarter of us will be over 65.
The desire to downsize is strong amongst Britain’s older generation, but many are prevented from doing so because of a lack of suitable retirement properties in desirable locations.
The result is that eight million people are living in homes too large for them to manage and too expensive for them to heat. With an ageing population – this issue isn’t going to go away.