The rental sector needs to prepare for the demographic challenge of an increasingly older population, says the head of a high profile property management firm.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for ageing and older people recently published its inquiry into decent and accessible homes for older people which called for the extension of “housing options available to older people” to “make it easier to deliver better alternatives for older people living in unsuitable housing.”
Over the last decade there has been a 24 per cent increase in the number of households aged over 65 at a time when the overall number of households has risen by just eight per cent.
The number of owner occupiers in the over 65 age group has increased by 30 per cent over the last 10 years compared with a decline of 4.5 per cent living in social housing and an increase of 47.1 per cent in the private rented sector.
Now David Alexander, joint managing director of Apropos by DJ Alexander, is queuing whether the private rental sector in particular is prepared for these changes.
“The AAPG rightly wants the private rental sector to improve conditions for private renters by abolishing ‘no fault evictions’ for tenants alongside such measures such as landlord licensing, and to ensure tenants feel able to complain and thus help to tackle disrepair and improve standards across the sector” he says.
“At the same time, the government must increase the housing options available in the social rented sector to provide greater security and genuinely affordable rents. Government also needs to work with private landlord organisations to increase the availability of housing in the private rented sector that is flexible and adaptable to older and disabled renters” he recommends.
“I see a growing number of older renters in the PRS who see renting as the ideal solution to their housing needs. The key factors for them are location, nearness to a town centre, and the opportunity to live in among people of a similar age” Alexander adds.
The total value of the private senior living market is expected to climb 40 per cent to £55.2 billion by 2023 - up from £39.6 billion today - and housing professionals are increasingly targeting this group to invest in bespoke housing developments.
“Renting is increasingly becoming a suitable choice for many older people due to life events or changes in household composition and the opportunity that renting offers enabling individuals to live in a location that they could not possibly afford as owner-occupiers” according to Alexander.