The great bungalow crisis: older people trapped in unsuitable homes
Why aren’t developers building bungalows?
AOL reports that half a million people over the age of 55 are desperate to downsize into a more suitable property, but are trapped in huge and unwieldy family homes – because developers just aren’t interested in building anything for them. Things have got so bad that we’ve entered a bungalow crisis.
A report by the HomeOwners Alliance has highlighted the problem. They say that while one in six properties built in the UK in the 1980s was a bungalow, nowadays that figure is less than one in 60. Their calculations show that one in five people over the age of 55 considered moving last two years, but decided against it. Almost a quarter of them said it was because of a lack of suitable properties – which works out as around half a million people. To make matters worse, those people who are lucky enough track down a bungalow end up paying massively over-the-odds for it. The fact that demand is so high and supply so low means that prices have been hiked. It makes downsizing from a large family home to a smaller bungalow far less financially rewarding.
An All-Party Parliamentary Group has been exploring why builders aren’t catering for older buyers. Its Chair, Lord Richard Best explains: “High-density housing tends to be favoured by planners over the more spacious, low-density housing preferred by older people.” He adds: “As a little under a tenth of older people say they would look to move somewhere without stairs, the relatively short supply of bungalows may be a concern. Builders are more likely to build flats or houses than bungalows, as bungalows take up a larger amount of land, increasing costs to the developer.”
The report said that the government’s focus on first time buyers rather than last timers was making matters worse. Lord Best agrees, adding: “The current planning system and recent government initiatives simply serve to incentivise builders to focus on the other end of the housing ladder, where they see an easier route to delivery and lower development risk.”
It’s no wonder that The Papworth Trust, a charity supporting disabled and older people, suggests that no new bungalows at all will be built in six years’ time. It seems, therefore, that this is just the start of a bungalow crisis that is set to get even worse.
(Article source: AOL)