housing futures platinum generation

2017 – Platinum Generation

Q2 2017

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


Vanessa Hale

Director, Research

+44 20 7318 4675

Partnering with Octopus Healthcare, our fifth publication in the Housing Futures programme, ‘Platinum Generation’, investigates the needs and desires of the retirement cohort by surveying over 2,200 respondents from across the UK aged 65 years or older. The survey revealed four key insights into retirement accommodation:

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

The research shows that 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 their parents in retirement. Often in good health, with decent pensions and active lifestyles, they want to live where they can continue to enjoy their established way of life, minus the day job. They want access to local culture and recreational facilities - such as theatres, farmers markets and swimming pools - but also accommodation that is flexible enough to meet their future care requirements.

We have identified six distinct Platinum Generation tribes whom we believe exist throughout the UK.

They are:

  • Blitz Kidz – Aged over 70, Blitz Kidz tend to be single (possibly widowed or divorced), without access to private pensions or income from investments, and are looking for a rental retirement product. They tend to be a lifelong renters, but if they currently own their own home they are not likely to benefit from a large equity release when the property is sold. This tribe holds traditional values and will often have a ‘make-do-and-mend’ approach.
  • Peter Pans – Peter Pans are aged 60-65 and ‘kept up with the Joneses’ when they were working, but realise retiring from high-income jobs will restrict their accustomed lifestyle. While they have private pensions and investments, these are unlikely to fully fund their retirement, especially as they have a desire to help their children and grandchildren financially.
  • Sundowners – Likely to be aged over 65, this tribe are probably retired but enjoyed a high household income while working and now have income from both pensions and investments. They also own their home outright. They have enjoyed spending on goods, services and family members but haven’t planned for their housing and care provision in retirement.
  • Instagrammas – The Instagrammas (and Instagrampas) are socially outgoing and health conscious, not just concerning food but also when it comes to physical and mental fitness. They are attracted to technology and its benefits and would be considered early adopters for their cohort.
  • Savvy Shrinkers – Aged over 70, this tribe are the true downsizers. They are practical, constantly in a state of decluttering and have always planned to move to appropriately sized accommodation as their circumstances change.
  • Escalators – Likely to be single individuals, Escalators are over the age of 75 and seek a retirement housing solution because of the services that it can offer. Whether it is weekly help with a grocery shop, or more personal needs, members of this group are beginning to require additional assistance, or recognise that they are likely to need extra support in the not too distant future.

The diversity of these tribes demand a range of housing options from the property industry to support their wide spectrum of needs. But the ideal potential solution which we call Platinum Places, are mixed-use, urban or edge-of-community developments in towns, cities or large well served villages.

Read the full report here