Campaign for housing in later life = retirement homes?
Whilst the HBF's 'Campaign for Housing in Later Life' identifies the 'need' (desire to downsize), does it offer the 'solution' (specialist retirement housing)?
Indeed, does its own research by Demos actually suggest less of a panacea approach, and a profitable niche for volume housebuilders?
The case for moving and downsizing is emphatic, with 76-per-cent of those over 60 wanting to move and downsize. But what of the appeal of retirement homes? Only 25-per-cent showed an interest in specifically buying a retirement property – a considerable fall in interest.
But this should not surprise.
Downsizing doesn't necessarily mean downgrading, or living in retirement communities. It can mean homes carefully designed for a subset of the retirement audience: the '60 is the new 40′ generation, who are highly active, with time, money and aspiration in abundance.
It means homes fit for a golden generation, who see downsizing more as an opportunity to 'resize', unlocking even more wealth and starting an exciting (as opposed to final) chapter in life. A chapter with a new home (thoughtfully designed, personalised and with all the benefits of new) as opposed to a new retirement home.
Perhaps, when the stimulus of 'Help to Buy' pervades the second-hand market in the coming months, housebuilders might need to focus on this opportunity to maintain momentum.