Personal Finance

Lacking retirement accommodation sees millions suffer: Retirees flee to coast

This growing migration has seen more and more retirees living in more isolated areas and increasing pressure on the smaller housing markets, making it near impossible for young families to own a home. Social Market Foundation (SMF) reports that specialised retirement housing in towns and cities may be needed to stop the resignation of pensioners from these areas.

It is estimated that by 2043, several coastal and rural local authorities will oversee a population made up mostly of retirees. 

SMF reported that West Somerset is forecast to have 59 percent of its households being over the age of 65 in 20 years’ time.

This increases housing pressure in these areas and offsets the balance of those paying NI contributions and taxes against a bigger majority of those receiving state pension or benefits. 

Development Director of Kajima, Kirk Taylor, explained the debacle: “The number of people over 65 is expected to rise by 7.5 to 8.5 million during the next 30 years. Yet many live in homes that are too large for them.


“More than three million family homes are deemed to be underoccupied in this way – while there’s a shortage of homes for young families.”

Scott Corfe of SMF argued in a provocation paper that more should be done to retain a balance of retirees across the country.

Mr Corfe noted that the UK is incredibly lacking in creating housing that meets the needs of older people as an estimated three million people over the age of 65 want to downsize in the UK. 

Additionally, just one percent of Britons over the age of 60 live in a specialist retirement property, a severe difference between that of America that has 17 percent. 

Mr Corfe shared: “The trend for older people to flee from urban areas to the coast or the countryside can have unforeseen consequences. Too many retirees end up in unsuitable, oversized and often unsafe homes, while rising property prices exclude younger families from local housing.  

“Local authority areas where the majority of residents are over 65 could struggle to provide their populations with adequate services, and such communities may lack cohesion and intergenerational mixing.  

“Housing options that allowed more older people to choose to retire in towns and cities would offer benefits to retirees, to urban economies and to wider society.”

Additionally, having an influx of retirement income in urban areas will likely include a influx of local high street spending as those aged over 65 are responsible for 21 percent of all household spending in the UK according to the ONS. 

SMF also estimates that an increase in desirable retirement homes could lead to a five percent reduction in average house prices across England. 


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