English housing ‘mismatched to ageing population’

23 Oct 14

Housing in England has been deemed inadequate for an ageing population by the think-tank IPPR North.

Research by the group found that 95% of housing stock is not fully accessible to them, which left older people with inadequate choice amid the growing mismatch between the proportion of older people and appropriate housing stock.

The report, For Future Living: Innovative measures to join up housing and health, says that the number of households of over-65s will grow dramatically over the next ten years, with over-85s growing by a third.

New housing developments should adopt Lifetime Homes Standards to support independent living, the report stated, that sets accessibility standards. Homes built to these specifications to be exempt from Stamp Duty, up to the value of £500,000 where the buyer is over 55.

In addition, the report recommended that middle to high income earners over 50 should be offered a choice of insurance or equity release loans to help them pay for home adaptations.

IPPR North research fellow Bill Davies said the English housing market is failing to provide homes that will allow older people to continue to live independent lives.

‘If we aspire to build over 200,000 homes per year, it is essential that we think harder about who these homes are for, and who is going to buy them,’ he said.

‘House building that reflects the space and accessibility that older people want is essential if we are to support people to live independent lives, free up large family homes, and control the costs of social care.’

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