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
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
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
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
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
View the full report.