Some 60% of over-65s would consider moving to a bungalow, according to research by McCarthy & Stone.
This number – equivalent to 7.2 million people – represents a 6% increase in demand in the last year, showing the growing appeal of low-storey housing in later life. Some 65% (or 8 million) over-65s also support the building of bungalows built and managed exclusively for occupation by older people.
McCarthy & Stone says this appetite for bungalows is down to three main factors: the desire to live on one level (70%), being easier to maintain (50%) and being much better suited to retirees (49%).
However, despite their overwhelming popularity, the approximate number of bungalows that have ever been built in the UK is comparatively small at two million. Only 15% of all new homes were bungalows in 1987, which fell to 3.5% in 2007 and just 2% in 2018.
In light of this, the developer currently has a pipeline of 254 bungalows across 17 sites within its retirement communities. Bungalows are currently for sale at sites in Buntingford, Hadleigh and Wymondham, and other schemes are presently being pursued through the planning process.
Demand for these bungalows has been consistently high, with all bungalows at sites in Chipping Norton and Shrewsbury already sold out and just three remaining across Buntingford and Wymondham sites.
In the last two years, the company has sold around 60 bungalows.
John Tonkiss, chief executive of McCarthy & Stone, comments: “Bungalows are increasingly popular amongst older generations and should be a consideration for any drive to build more suitable housing. They are easier to maintain, are built with older people in mind and help maintain independence for longer.”
“Housing like this not only brings a host of health and other benefits to older people, it also helps free up under-utilised family homes for younger generations. This shift can play a major part in helping solve the UK's housing crisis.”
McCarthy & Stone believes that while planning guidance for older people’s housing has recognised the growing need to provide more housing suitable for older people’s needs, it is only the first step in the reform process.
As such, it would like to see current planning legislation reconsidered to help cater for the increasing market demand for housing designed specifically for older people. This could be in the form of proactive policies, such as the allocation of age-restricted bungalow-only sites in Local Plans.