More than half of people aged 65 and over in the UK would consider moving to a bungalow but not enough are being built to meet demand, a new survey shows.
Overall 54% in this age group, equal to 6.6 million older people in the UK, would consider moving to a single storey house and 65% think more bungalows should be built exclusively for older people.
The research from McCarthy & Stone shows, however, that in the past 30 years the number of bungalows built each year has dropped from over 26,000 in 1986 to just 2,600 in 2017 an d around just two million bungalows have ever been built in the UK.
It also points out that a recent report from MPs called on councils and developers to consider the feasibility of building more bungalows. Planning rules have, however, limited their viability, favouring high density developments.
With strong demand in the market and the UK’s ageing demographic continuing unabated, McCarthy & Stone suggests there is a need to reconsider current planning legislation to help cater for demand and provide greater retirement housing choices.
As part of efforts to tackle the shortage, McCarthy & Stone currently has over 240 bungalows in its pipeline across 15 different schemes and reports strong interest from buyers.
‘There is an urgent need to build more suitable housing to meet the different needs of those in retirement, and bungalows must play a key role. Although they were a dying breed, bungalows are making a comeback and are hot property,’ said Clive Fenton, chief executive of McCarthy & Stone .
‘As the UK rapidly ages, more and more people want to downsize from their large family homes to a bungalow, which is smaller, easier to maintain and offers independent living. In doing so, they free up homes for the UK’s younger generation, and also keep older people healthier and happier for longer. It’s a win, win for everyone,’ he added.
The firm also points out that well-designed bungalows are suited to later living given their step free access, their secure, private and manageable outside spaces and their easy adaptability.
McCarthy & Stone is calling for more planning support to help build a greater number of bungalows, including the allocation of bungalow-only sites in Local Plans. Specific site allocations can help to overcome issues around land price which have meant developers have to date favoured high density flats or houses.
McCarthy & Stone understand the Government will publish guidance on housing for older people in the Autumn, which it hopes will encourage more bungalows, and other types of retirement housing, to be built.