The Ageing Population and the Housing Market
There are many challenges associated with house hunting for older citizens stemming from a number of sources. The fact that many older persons who are interested in moving are at least partially driven by a desire to downsize from a larger family home, into something more manageable is a hurdle in itself. But when the price restrictions are combined with other specific needs such as limited mobility access, and the desire to have some extra space, either for visitors or a live-in carer, the hunt can seem almost impossible.
Why Estate Agents Should Not Ignore the Older Demographic
Some feel that there is a certain amount of stigma that comes with listing homes that come with mobility or age-related features such as a lift, ramps, rooms that could be used to house a live-in caregiver, or widened hallways suitable for wheelchair access. Estate Agents or Agencies often do not list properties in such a way that it highlights such features, in the fear that it might drive away some buyers for whom those features would be a nuisance rather than a benefit. While this may have some validity to it, it is also true that the ageing demographic is rising. There are currently around 8.4 million adults in the UK who are registered as being disabled in some way. This is a large market segment that is expected only to grow in the coming years. But because of bias against listing properties in such a ways as to make them easy to find, large portions of that group are either purchasing properties they are somewhat dissatisfied with, or are not buying at all.
Catering to the Market
Although it can be difficult as an agent to find housing that caters to the requirements of the ageing generation, the numbers suggest that it could be well worth their while. Recent polling suggests that around 53% of people over 50 plan to move when they retire and many of these people are likely to eventually need mobility features or dedicated space for live-in assistance. It seems likely that in addition to cost, location, and size, homes that either already have mobility access features built in, or that could be easily and inexpensively adapted, will be a huge commodity in the coming decades. With these points in mind, it seems that the real estate agents are likely to profit from attending to the specific needs of the UK’s ageing population.