Cormac Henderson


Cormac Henderson

Spring is continuation of the vision of Cormac Henderson, the founder of the one the UK’s original house buying com...

Now is the time post Covid to take stock and recognise the significant challenges and opportunities facing the retirement and later living sector. The impact of social, political, and environmental pressures results in both conflicting and complementary attributes the sector must carefully balance.

Growing Conversations

As conversations around the provision of later life care continue to gain momentum, it is vital for developers and operators to continue their investment in the sector and build adaptable, attractive, and dynamic communities. We must recognise and learn from developers already creating high quality state-of-the-art sites with varying levels of care, as these form the future foundations of how the NHS and social care system should be reformed over the next 12 – 24 months to meet the growing demands of society.

With significant investment, the creation of versatile communities that break the institutional stereotypes, will be a more attractive proposition to those of retirement age. And, due to their desirability, it will make the choice to sell their large ‘family’ property they have owned for decades, a much easier process. There is a severe lack of suitable family homes that are not entering the market, and this issue has been exacerbated by the Covid suburban migration leading to even more acute undersupply of this type of housing stock.

Spring Data

Spring data further demonstrates this trend and the imbalance between those downsizing and those wanting to upsize. As people age, they tend to own larger detached houses for longer despite not necessarily having a practical need for the space.

Our analysts have calculated the value of housing owned and occupied by the over 65s to be over £1.6 trillion, meaning at its full potential, the industry could see 15% of all over 65s potentially owning and living in a retirement property.

Overall benefits

The overall benefits of a larger retirement living sector are substantial. Offering communities that allow older people to age well, and have help on hand should the need arises, is vital to free up much needed stock, address feelings of isolation and loneliness in the older generation and reduce the nation’s spiralling social care costs.

Based on research from ‘Demos and The Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing,’ the government saves between £1,000 and £1,540 per year for each person moving into retirement housing with care and assisted living facilities on site.

Government involvement

Government incentives, such as SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax) exception for downsizers, could help widen the social and economic benefits of moving to retirement housing. And the government would ultimately raise more tax as Lord Best comments that each top of chain home sale facilitates more about 2.7 other sales thereby generating more tax overall. Political reform, such as changes in the ‘Health and Care Bill’ that become law in April 2022, and changes in the regulatory inspection regime, will all impact the desirability of retirement communities and in turn who lives in them.

Additional changes in planning policies at local level, will support the construction of more high-quality retirement communities that will generate positive ripples for first- or last-time buyers, upsizers or downsizers.

This multifaceted approach across the sector, will offer a clear social benefit by their existence alone and provide much needed viable alternatives to the downsizing generation and later life living communities.

Cormac’s commentary

Working in partnership with our retirement clients, our customer centric approach to homebuying removes the associated stresses and pitfalls of selling a property the traditional way on the open market. Removing such obstacles and delays for those in their later years helps in two key areas. Firstly, it makes the decision to sell a much-loved family home an easier choice to make, and secondly, makes for an easier, smoother transition into their chosen retirement living accommodation. Once Spring have purchased a property, we redistribute the property back into the market to assist with the wider societal need for to those wanting family homes, helping to bridge the seismic gap between supply and demand for this much needed housing stock,” Cormac Henderson, Spring CEO.

Extending our thanks to Phil Laycock, Director, Conference Host and Chair Built Environment Networking and all event participants:

Lord Richard Best OBE,  Chair, All Parliamentary Group for Housing and Care for Elderly People

Anna Hart, Partner, Social Care, DAC Beechcroft

Samantha Rowland, Head of Senior Living Operation and Capital Markets, Savills

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