Research Residential

‘Housing Futures: The Platinum Generation’

Q2 2017

New research investigates what the Baby Boomers really want from retirement housing

The UK has anageing population and is seeing the large 20-year demographic ‘bump’ of BabyBoomers moving through retirement. This generation, born in the years followingthe Second World War, has high expectations when it comes to the quality oflife and standard of accommodation it will enjoy as it ages.

Newresearch from Strutt & Parker and Octopus Healthcare investigates the needsand desires of the retirement generation by surveying over 2,200 respondents fromacross the UK aged 65 years or older. The Platinum Generation survey revealedfour key insights into retirement accommodation:

  • 73% of respondents have no plans in place for retirementaccommodation or their care provision in later life.
  • 42% believe there is a lack of suitable properties in the UKto downsize into.
  • 41% would like a six-month trial before permanently movinginto a retirement community.
  • 17% would consider living in a professionally managed rentalproduct, in other words a Build to Rent model.

StephanieMcMahon, Head of Research at Strutt & Parker, said: “Our research showsthat there is a clear need for a new breed of retirement communities in the UK.The Baby Boomers have voiced objections to living in the same way as theirparents in retirement. Often in good health, with decent pensions and activelifestyles, they want to live where they can continue to enjoy theirestablished way of life, minus the day job. They want access to local cultureand recreational facilities - such as theatres, farmers markets and swimmingpools - but also accommodation that is flexible enough to meet their futurecare requirements. Through our research, we have identified a potentialsolution which we call Platinum Places. These are mixed-use and mixed-age,urban or edge-of-community developments in towns, cities or large amenity-richvillages.”

MikeAdams, CEO of Octopus Healthcare, said: “For the property industry, there arecompelling reasons to deliver retirement housing: the demographics aresupportive, the market is undersupplied and there is a pressing need forwell-designed and well-located stock. However, there is a hefty shortfall ofhousing currently available for the Baby Boomer generation. Only 2% of the UK’sstock is designated as retirement accommodation and it houses just 1% of Britonsin their 60s. The number of retirement homes being developed has also decreaseddramatically, from 30,000 per year in 1980s to 8,000 per year today.

ThePlatinum Generation survey revealed the six top reasons that those aged 65-plusdecided to look for a new home:

  1. 34% need moresupport – requiring help or a ‘crisis event’ are historically the biggestmotivators for moving.
  2. 33% seek lowermaintenance – modern homes that require less upkeep, or developments withon-site maintenance are particularly attractive to older residents.
  3. 26% are lookingfor accessible homes – with level thresholds, fewer stairs and walk-in showers.
  4. 23% want a smallerhouse of two or three bedrooms which still provides space for hobbies, guestsor storage.
  5. 22% wish to reduceoutgoings – a recently built home will typically reduce outgoings by providingbetter insulation and energy efficiency compared with older properties.
  6. 20% seek a smallergarden – outside space is important, for relaxation or pets, but keeping it toa manageable size is crucial.

AgeUK estimates that 25% of over-65s would be interested in buying a retirementproperty. The current lack of suitable accommodation is having a negativeimpact on the wider housing market, with empty-nesters lacking an incentive todownsize and staying in their existing family homes. There is less housingstock available for younger buyers as a result. According to Age UK, if justhalf of the 58% of over-60s who are interested in moving were able to do so, itwould release £356 billion worth of property into the market, of which nearlyhalf would be three-bedroom homes.

RichardHarris, Head of Retirement Development at Strutt & Parker, explains: “Toeffect change, developers must meet the aspirations of a new generation ofretirement residents. While a minority are financially footloose and able tomake use of their increased spare time with travel and leisure activities, themajority are concerned about the affordability of future health and care needs,their ability to stay independent and their access to friends, family andcompanionship. Consequently, retirement developments that incorporate goodpublic transport, a sense of community and access to health and leisureactivities are most likely to succeed.

StephanieMcMahon concludes: “By presenting better housing options for those moving intoretirement, by encouraging multi-generational communities and amenity-richneighbourhoods, it should be possible to reduce under-occupation in the UK.That said, successful downsizing is about choice and not social obligation. Tocreate attractive Platinum Places, all of the industry players - developers,operators and government - will need to work together to work together to buildhousing fit for the Platinum Generation.

To download the full report, ‘HousingFutures: The Platinum Generation’, please visit: