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A big coup – leading retirement developer joins forces with Homes England

In what will be seen as a major win, one of the UK’s leading developers and managers of retirement communities has been given strategic partnership status with Homes England. It has also been successful in its bid for grant funding to deliver 1,500 new affordable shared ownership properties over the next five years.

The grant funding to McCarthy Stone will be the first investment in the private retirement sector ever made by Homes England, the government’s housing delivery agency.

The strategic partnership is with the firm’s shared ownership arm, McCarthy Stone (Shared Ownership) Ltd, which has been established by McCarthy Stone and became a Registered Provider earlier this year.


The company says the funding announced yesterday is a major step forward in its plans to expand choice and affordability for its products and widen the number of older people who can enjoy the benefits of retirement living.

The company launched its multi tenure strategy in 2019 and already approximately a third of its transactions are for private rent or private shared ownership. Affordable shared ownership will now complement this offering.

The 1,500 units, of which a quarter will be delivered by Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), will be both developed and managed by McCarthy Stone.

The units are set to be delivered nationwide, with the majority found in the Midlands and North of England. The company argues that, by opening access to high-quality retirement communities, it will help deliver the government’s much-disputed ‘levelling up’ agenda, by providing more older people with a diverse mix of specialist housing while also helping to create additional employment opportunities for local communities.

The firm says that retirement communities are also proven to have significant socio-economic benefits, helping older people feel happier and healthier whilst freeing up the housing market and boosting local economies.

McCarthy Stone, which was founded in 1977 and has since built and sold more than 58,000 properties across more than 1,300 retirement developments, currently manages more than 450 retirement communities around the UK. These communities, it says, have witnessed a significantly lower level of infection from Covid-19 than wider society, helping to keep its customers safe and well.

“We are delighted to be appointed as a strategic partner by Homes England and this marks another important step in our commitment to address the growing demand for specialist retirement housing in the UK,” John Tonkiss, chief executive of McCarthy Stone, commented.

“Affordable retirement housing is essential to meet the government’s wider levelling up agenda. The 1,500 units this partnership will deliver will improve the lives of more older people across more price points, and bring vital economic activity to the areas that need it most.”

Bill Yardley, chairman of McCarthy Stone (Shared Ownership) Ltd, added: “Providing older people with more affordable choices when it comes to retirement housing is a pivotal part of McCarthy Stone’s multi-tenure strategy. Now with the backing of Homes England we can help to better serve the diverse needs of the UK’s ageing population around the country and give them the opportunity to live in a more supported environment, including on-site care, across a wide range of budgets.”

Peter Denton, chief executive officer at Homes England, said of the tie-up: “These strategic partnerships give our new partners the funding, flexibility, and confidence they need to build much needed affordable homes across the country. It also establishes a large network of organisations looking to share their skills and capabilities to expand the affordable housing sector and transform communities.”

He added: “By forming strategic partnerships with a wide range of public and private organisations, we are creating the conditions needed for institutional investment to catalyse affordable housing supply and in future give local authorities more of the tools they need to plan and act strategically, shaping their communities and building new homes.”

With the UK’s population steadily ageing, there is growing demand for retirement communities. At present, there are around 12.2 million people aged 65 or over, a number which is expected to rise to 17.4 million by 2043 - a 43% increase. 

For those aged 85 or over, the increase will be even larger, from 1.6 million to 3.0 million, representing an 87% increase.   

Research has also shown that a third (33%) of those aged 65 or over are interested in moving, equating to approximately four million people, highlighting the increasing need for adequate housing for this demographic.

Vistry Partnerships secures Homes England Strategic Partnership status

Another well-known developer also secured strategic partnership status following the announcement by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government of the Affordable Homes Programme. 

Vistry Group yesterday announced that Vistry Partnerships had been selected as a strategic partner by Homes England, the only listed developer to be included in the programme. 

Vistry Partnerships has been allocated a five-year grant programme totalling £83 million to deliver 1,474 affordable homes across the country, supporting the Group's ambitious medium-term growth plans for Vistry Partnerships' higher margin mixed tenure revenues.

Like McCarthy Stone, Vistry Partnerships will also build 25% of the 1,474 affordable homes using modern methods of construction, which an important commitment required by Homes England. Vistry Partnerships has also committed to building 10% of the homes in rural areas, with 40% delivered via brownfield sites.

The homes will be built in a full range of affordable tenures, including Shared Ownership, Affordable Rent, Social Rent and Rent to Buy.

"I'm delighted that Vistry Partnerships has been selected for this important strategic partnership, which is testament to our longstanding relationship with Homes England, and to the quality of the homes and communities which we develop," Greg Fitzgerald, CEO of Vistry Group, said.

"This partnership will accelerate the delivery of much-needed affordable homes, and further strengthen our ambitious growth plans for Vistry Partnerships."


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