Greengates Builders Merchants

Downsizers Boost The Market In Retirement Villages

Urban downsizers, particularly those with a London property to sell, are beginning to call the shots, with more upmarket retirement developments being launched than ever.

The result has been a series of strategic moves in the sector by established operators and those on the periphery of the retirement housing sector. These include the acquisition by Bupa of the highly regarded Richmond Villages portfolio.

"Now the housing market beyond London is showing traction, the weight of the grey pound tied up in substantial equity has finally hit home to all those with an interest in the sector," said Emma Cleugh, head of Knight Frank's insti­tutional consultancy department.

"It is our view that as long as the housing market remains liquid, the burgeoning amount of unreleased equity tied up in over-55s housing will ensure that the market sector will grow as the older generation seeks to release equity and enjoy the substantial growth in the value of their homes."

 

London itself is particularly badly served for retirement housing, a situation due to a historic neglect of the sector as well as the high cost of land.

However, even in overpriced Battersea, demand has been huge for the apartments at Battersea Place, the first luxury retirement development by New Zealand-owned company LifeCare Residences. It is designed to meet the needs of the capital's ageing population requiring top-quality domiciliary care and medical support.

Construction at Battersea Place started last summer and already more than 70 per cent of the development is sold at prices starting from £600,000.

Lifecare Residences will be the permanent on-site village operators in this superb location, close to the beautiful Albert Bridge and opposite the multi-acre Battersea Park.

 

The so-called village of 109 apartments and penthouses for the 65-plus age group offers delightful facilities including a leisure complex with indoor pool, bar, restaurant with a private delivery service, library and cinema room, beauty and treatment salon.

Professional nursing care is available when required.

"With the fastest population growth among older Londoners aged 85 and above, as recently highlighted by the Commons housing committee, we know there is a great demand for quality retirement housing in London," said Kim Caldwell of McCarthy & Stone, which also has just launched three new affordable schemes in and around the capital.

"London is a wonderful place for people of all ages to live and, incre­asingly, those in later life want to continue to enjoy the benefits after they retire." At Willesden Green, north-west London, 39 one and two-bedroom apartments available for occupation this autumn will be suited to those looking for independence as well as compa­ni­onship, privacy and security.

Plans to build more retirement apartments and villages is to be rolled out around the country by various building orga­nisa­tions. 
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