June 13, 2024

Cardiff developer research reveals the equivalent of £15.8bn is being held up in equity in Wales that could be released to help almost 214k retirees who are looking to downsize

  • New research from the developer behind Llys Isan Retirement Living Plus development on Ilex Close shows 32% (c.214k) older people in Wales would consider moving from their existing property
  • 22% (c.147k[1]) of older people in the region think they will need to downsize
  • Barriers to access: 36% (c.240k[2]) of these think there should be more retirement housing available in the UK. And 20% (c.134k[3]) of older people in the Wales feel that a stamp duty exemption for downsizing would encourage them to move

New research by McCarthy Stone, which is behind the Llys Isan Retirement Living Plus development on Ilex Road, has found that almost a third (32%) of older people in Wales, equating to an estimated 214k, would consider moving, with almost a quarter (22%) of retirees in the region – 147k – potentially needing to downsize.

With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic creating a strong desire to move home, McCarthy Stone’s research found that Welsh retirees felt there were too many barriers that disincentivised them to move.

The poll, conducted with YouGov, found that a lack of suitable housing options remained one of the primary barriers standing in the way of older people moving, with 36% of retirees, equating to an estimated 240k older people, calling for the UK to prioritise the development of more retirement housing solutions. A fifth (20%) of Welsh retirees suggested that a stamp duty exemption for downsizing would significantly encourage them to move.

Removing these barriers to access for the elderly could also have significant economic implications too. If those who were keen to move were able to do so, it could free up over £15.8bn[4] in equity, with an average move freeing up c£74k. Furthermore, 22% (147k) would consider downsizing, equating to £10.8bn[5] in tied up equity which could go towards health-related care costs while also directly releasing a number of properties back onto the housing market to help those in the Wales further down the property ladder.

Llys Isan features 49 spacious and comfortable apartments ideal for the over 70s. Retirement Living Plus means that homeowners will have access to on-site facilities like the Bistro, which serves hot and cold meals, snacks and drinks for those who don’t want to cook, or are unable to. There’s also a homeowners’ lounge area and a wellbeing suite.

The assisted living apartments are specially designed for retirees over 70 who want to maintain their independence with the reassurance that there’s always someone close to hand who can provide assistance. 24-hour staffing and an emergency call system ensures around-the-clock assistance for any homeowner should they need it.

In total it operates 475 retirement communities around the UK for an estimated 20,000 older people. Divisional Marketing Manager for Wales, Verity McKay, believes the issue can be addressed by a range of policy changes, including a stamp duty exemption for downsizers moving into a retirement community, the establishment of a Later Living Taskforce that looks at ways to build more suitable properties, and for the Government to work with Homes England, its housing delivery agency, to make 10% of their new housing designed specifically for older people.

Speaking on the results of the research, Verity McKay said: “Over the last few years, we have seen growing narratives that older people are “refusing to downsize” and “clogging up the housing market”. However, as these results show, this completely misses the mark. The reality is that for many older people in Wales there is a genuine desire to move and downsize, yet little has been done to encourage them to do so. If we are serious about protecting the interests of our ageing population, then the Government must rethink its approach to retirement housing to ensure we can begin to deliver the necessary supply.”

There are nearly 12.5 million people aged 65 or over and this is expected to increase as the UK faces an increasingly ageing population.  Currently, retirement housing makes up just 2% of the UK’s housing supply and just c.7,000 new properties are delivered a year[6]. This remains drastically short of demand which is estimated at 30,000 new properties a year.

Verity McKay adds: “It is time to move away from these narratives that only serve to exacerbate intergenerational conflicts and instead understand that enabling downsizing is about more than just furthering the interests of older people. If we can finally address the provision of retirement housing, we can begin to free up the market for younger generations and address the housing crisis once and for all.” 

Over the last 12 months, the business has called on the Government to establish a Later Living Taskforce to comprehensively explore how to address the historic undersupply of suitable retirement housing in the UK and develop solutions for the delivery of more and better housing options for our ageing population. Most recently, Chris Pincher MP, Minister of State for Housing at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities welcomed the industry’s calls for the establishment of the Later Living Taskforce and it is hoped the Government will make an announcement shortly.

For more about McCarthy Stone developments in Wales, please visit: www.mccarthystone.co.uk