Location remains key for over 65s

Posted on Saturday, June 15, 2019

A new Senior Living Survey released by Knight Frank, has revealed that location remains the most important factor when choosing a property for the UK's over 65s.

According to the figures, 56% of respondents highlighted this as a priority.

Knight Frank surveyed almost 2,000 homeowners and renters over the age of 65 as part of its wider Tenant Survey to better assess their priorities when choosing a property to live in. The wider tenant survey is always topped by affordability, but these new findings show that seniors put location first, followed by affordability and size of the property.

The report also shows there is an existing seniors’ rental market, albeit not currently in Build-to-Rent seniors housing - as it hasn’t yet been built at scale.

The survey found that affordability is a significant factor underpinning decisions to live in the private rented sector, with 17% of respondents stating they don’t have enough for a deposit to buy a property. When choosing a location in which to live, 28% of respondents said that their decision was guided by whether the rent or purchase price of the area was within their budget, followed by living close to family and friends (17%), proximity to transport links (13%) and access to green space (10%)

60% of respondents said their last move was to a home within ten miles of their previous property. Meanwhile, almost a quarter moved more than 50 miles, perhaps reflecting the need to move for family reasons. Respondents indicated a clear inclination towards town centre living, with 75% stating the distance from a retirement village to a town centre was important to them

Knight Frank also engaged with 15 of the biggest funders and developers in the senior living market to conduct its Investor Survey. The results reveal that:

• 83% of investors plan to manage their projects using an in-house platform

• 68% of respondents said that future investment would be in the regions, rising from 63% today

• More than three quarters of investors (78%) view Brexit as a threat

• More than a third of respondents said they wanted to engage in providing “cradle to grave” housing, in some cases, student housing right through to Housing with

Knight Frank forecasts the total value of the private senior living market will climb 40% to £55.2bn by 2023, from £39.6bn in 2019 - with growth being underpinned by demographic shifts and increased investment from both the UK and overseas.

Tom Scaife, Head of Senior Living at Knight Frank commented, “These findings highlight clear opportunities for senior living developers to design schemes that appeal to this growing sector. In fact, 37% of respondents to the survey said they found the prospect of living in a senior living scheme attractive, representing huge potential for market growth.

Still a nascent market, there are challenges to overcome in senior living – with access to data among the most important. Further hurdles, which the industry is already taking steps to overcome, centre on communicating the social and economic benefits of senior living to local communities.

Current government support – the continuation of uncapped ground rents in the sector, for example, needs to continue and expand. A uniform plan for meeting the housing needs of our aging population is also required. This should include clarity on affordable housing, local authority financial saving through provision of care within seniors housing, and the release of local family housing back to the market via downsizers moving into seniors housing.”

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