According to a recently published report by the International Longevity Centre UK, the new housing being built around the country is focusing too much on the needs of first time buyers – usually younger people – rather than including the housing needs of older generations.
The report accepts that the younger generation’s need is urgent due to the significant deficit of available properties thanks in part to the Government failing to meet their target of building 200,000 new homes per year. They only built 160,000 during 2015, while several housing experts believe the original 200,000 is too low to begin with. However, the report insists that catering for the older as well as younger generations will help progress move along at a faster rate.
More Homes Suitable For Older People Needed
The International Longevity Centre UK describe themselves as a ‘futures organisation focused on some of the biggest challenges facing Government and society in the context of demographic change’ and have waded into the housing debate as they deal with a variety of issues facing the older folks in our society, only one of which is the issue of new housing being unsuitable.
The co-author of the report, Sir Michael Lyons, believes that more suitable housing for older people will help encourage them to free up capital for the younger generation. He said:
“Finding ways in which local authorities can promote, support, finance and commission new homes will be critical to achieve the Government’s house building targets and in ensuring greater commissioning of homes suitable for older people.
“We need a better rental offer with secure tenancies and confidence of rent stability to encourage older home owners looking to release capital to provide an income in later years and to help fund housing for their children and grandchildren. The increased opportunities for self-build, of self commissioning, that government is promoting could be an attractive option for those who have equity but feel there is a lack of choice to meet their aspirations or those for whom retirement settings do not appeal.”
The report’s conclusion is that local authorities need to build housing with a more inclusive range of housing commissioners. They call for better rental offers as well as securer tenancies and options for shared ownership that suit older folks, although it seems that the first point of order would be for the Government to actually build the amount of houses they said they would.