Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced the creation of a GBP 60 million fund to improve the nation's retirement property sector. Delivered in partnership with the Department of Health, the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund is part of the 'Housing Covenant' and is designed to increase jobs in the capital and growth of the city's construction industry.
Commercial developers are now being asked to bid for a share of the finance and must demonstrate that they can enhance the quality and choice of housing available through innovative design, accessibility and new technology.
Retirement property is quickly becoming a lucrative investment opportunity, as the UK's ageing population continues to swell. Figures from the Institute of Public Care have shown that the number of people aged 65 and over in Britain has increased by 40 per cent over the last 40 years. This is expected to rise to an increase by a further 11 per cent over the next 25 years.
In 2010, Knight Frank predicted that the creation of retirement villages would be an important asset for the country, following success in the US and Australia. Nick Sanderson, chief executive of Audley and chair of the Association of Retirement Village Operators, told the estate agent in the Retirement Housing Report that "over the next decade retirement villages will be the fastest growing development sector of any kind in the UK".
Already it is predicted that Mr Johnson's new fund could help approximately 1,500 older and disabled people in London. Age UK have welcomed the finance proposals, with chief executive Samantha Mauger claiming that creating housing that reflects the "diverse needs and cultures" of the older adults of the capital is vital.
Mr Johnson commented: "By allowing people to move to well designed, accessible homes, it will also help to give older and disabled Londoners renewed independence and dignity. I'd like to see some truly innovative proposals coming forward, ones that set new standards in design and that provide a benchmark for how this type of housing should be delivered."
- Tuesday 30 October 2012