Over 65s prioritise location when choosing a home

Tom Scaife, head of senior living, Knight Frank

Location is the most important factor for the over 65s when choosing a property, research from Knight Frank has shown.

Its Senior Living Survey found that 56% of respondents highlighted location as a priority, followed by affordability (18%) and size of the property (17%). The remaining respondents said either ‘other’ or ‘don’t know’.

The survey of 2,000 homeowners and renters over the age of 65 was part of the property consultant’s wider Tenant Survey to assess priorities when choosing somewhere to live.

When choosing a location, 28% of respondents said that their decision was guided by whether the rent or purchase price was within their budget, followed by living close to family and friends (17%), proximity to transport links (13%) and access to green space (10%).

Three-quarters (75%) stated the distance from a retirement village to a town centre was important.

Knight Frank also surveyed 15 of the biggest funders and developers in the senior living market.

It found that 68% of respondents said that future investment would be in the regions, rising from 63% today. More than three-quarters (78%) viewed Brexit as a threat.

More than a third (38%) of respondents said they wanted to engage in providing ‘cradle to grave’ housing, in some cases, student accommodation right through to housing with extra care for older people. However, 46% said they did not want to develop such portfolios.

Knight Frank forecasts the total value of the private senior living market will climb 40% to £55.2bn by 2023, from £39.6bn in 2019 – with growth being underpinned by demographic shifts and increased investment from both the UK and overseas.

Tom Scaife, head of senior living at Knight Frank said: ‘Still a nascent market, there are challenges to overcome in senior living – with access to data among the most important.

‘Further hurdles, which the industry is already taking steps to overcome, centre on communicating the social and economic benefits of senior living to local communities.

‘Current government support – the continuation of uncapped ground rents in the sector, for example, needs to continue and expand.

‘A uniform plan for meeting the housing needs of our ageing population is also required. This should include clarity on affordable housing, local authority financial saving through provision of care within seniors housing, and the release of local family housing back to the market via downsizers moving into seniors housing.’