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Government Boosts Chances Of UK Senior Housing Growth


The government has tasked a group of experts with finding ways to boost the range and volume of housing options for older people.

The long-awaited announcement this week will see a team led by professor Julienne Meyer produce recommendations. Ministers say the aim is to create more choice in ways that mix housing, health and social care.

The Older People’s Housing Taskforce will present initial findings within six months. The appointment is part of the government’s Adult Social Care Implementation plan, published by the Department for Health Wednesday.

High hopes are riding on the taskforce's report, which comes as the senior end of the build-to-rent spectrum readies itself for growth. The appointment has been called a “watershed moment” by ARCO, the membership body for Integrated Retirement Communities.

Senior housing providers want a joined-up approach on the delivery of housing and care as well as a solution to the problem of regional disparities in the supply of appropriate housing. A rethink of town planning systems' approach to senior housing and leasehold reform could also be part of the agenda.

The taskforce was first announced 14 months ago. This further step comes as the UK senior living sector plans for growth in 2023, spurred by potential problems in more traditional residential markets.

Land earmarked for mainstream apartments or housing could now be reallocated as senior living schemes because specialist developers are now able to make more competitive bids.

“I think for us, some of the headwinds facing the traditional sectors could actually be a tailwind for the sector,” Tristan Capital Partners Managing Director Kristian Smyth said at a Bisnow event in December. “We look at the financing markets, and I think the debt funds are looking for stronger sponsors, looking for more equity and charging more for it. I think forward fundings will largely be dormant for the next 12 to 18 months.”

The sector is also expected to move closer to a build-to-rent model and away from apartment sales as 2023 progresses.