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The ARCH annual report for 2015-16 is now available to view.

 

Download it here.

Housing, an ageing population: HoC briefing paper 07/01/2016

This briefing paper discusses the challenges around providing housing for older people in the midst of both a growing population and a still recovering housing market. It covers issues around housing stock; adaptations; retirement housing and asset release.

 

The paper highlights that successive governments have failed to provide housing in requisite quantities, which current estimates put at 250,000 per year.

 

After a 2007 high, in recent years of 219,080; build rates have not exceeded 200,000 per year, with an average of only 141,098 since 2010.

 

Numbers of people aged 65 or over, conversely, are on the rise with an increase of 47% between 1974 and 2014; making up nearly 18% of the population.

 

While owner occupancy has seen a gradual decline since the 1990s among the younger demographics, it has remained fairly consistent for older people despite the economic crisis of 2008. Home ownership is high among 65-74 year olds at 79% in the 2013/14 financial year; compared to only 9% and 36% for 16-24 and 25-34 year olds respectively.

 

Among owner occupiers across the board, but particularly for those aged 50 or over, under occupation (more bedrooms than occupants) is an extremely common arrangement; with a majority in the age group having two or more spare bedrooms than necessary. This has led to calls for older people to 'downsize' in order to free up stock for families and younger people and to release housing wealth.

 

Evidence exists for an appetite for downsizing, however indications are that a lack of the right sort of stock, in terms of amenities; size and accessibility, could be holding up progress.

 

Exemption of older social housing tenants from the 'bedroom tax' has met criticism from some quarters, however others caution that applying it to the demographic would both miss the intended mark of increased employment and lead to 'pensioner poverty' (with its inherent social and medical costs) outweighing the potential monetary gains.

 

View the full report.

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