‘Severe undersupply’ of senior housing highlighted in new research

There is a significant undersupply of age-related housing in Scotland with some particularly striking regional differences, according to new research.

'Severe undersupply' of senior housing highlighted in new research

Andrew Fyfe

A research paper ‘Senior Housing in Scotland: a development and investment opportunity?’, published in the Journal of Property Investment and Finance, sought to ascertain the level of demand and supply of age-related housing at a county level in the country.

Edinburgh-based Sovereign Property Partnership conducted the research in partnership with the University of Aberdeen and the Elderly Accommodation Counsel.

Andrew Fyfe, founder of Sovereign Property Partnership and co-author of the research, sits on the Scottish Government Cross Party Group, entitled, ‘Older People, Age and Ageing’ which focuses on helping the Scottish Parliament to address the challenges of an ageing population.

In his research, Andrew found that across the statutory, voluntary and private sectors the average percentage of supply of senior housing units vs the population of over 65s in Scotland stood at only 5%. Supply by region varied from as high as 17% in Dundee to as low as 1% in Orkney.

He said: “Data from the Scottish Government and the Elderly Accommodation Counsel formed the basis of our figures and the results are quite staggering. Given that by 2035 over 30% of the population in Scotland will be over 60 (presently 23%) and by 2039 over 800,000 people will be aged 75 or over (an 85% increase), preparation and planning for new supply of senior housing would seem urgent to give seniors choice on the type of housing that suits their needs and to avoid a housing crisis among the elderly.”

Professor Norman Hutchison of the University of Aberdeen, also a co-author of the research, was of a similar opinion.

He added: “The forecast growing demand considered against the current undersupply of senior housing presents an opportunity for housing developers to plug the gap. Our research also revealed a latent demand among the most elderly to lease their home, opening up an opportunity for investors. The design of new developments should be flexible to allow for changes in need as the occupier ages and include the latest IT solutions to home living.”

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