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LONDON-Given current forecasts there is likely to be a chronic shortage of homes suitable for the elderly according to research just published by Retirement Homesearch, the specialist agency in property for retired people.

The retirement population in the UK is set to jump from 10.7 million people in 1998 to a staggering 16 million by 2040. Martin James, Sales and Marketing Director of Retirement Homesearch, said: ‘Currently, 1.15 million people live in specialist retirement property of which only 125,000 are privately owned. On the current figures we will need over 1.7 million privately owned homes to cater for the need over the next 30 to 40 years.’ With only 3,000 specialist private retirement homes being built each year there is certain to be a chronic shortfall of available accommodation.

By definition, specialist retirement property should be a purpose-built or converted accommodation, exclusively for those over 55 to 60 years of age, who wish to carry on living independently, but who have the reassurance of an emergency call system and guaranteed property maintenance. Additionally, on-site staff, communal facilities and car parking are usually provided. At present only a small percentage of developers have begun to invest in the market despite the fact that within the next seven years the number of people of pensionable age will exceed the number of children under 16 years old for the first time.

James said, ‘The first eight months of 2001 has seen retirement homes increase by an average of £10,000 ($14,700). Some developers have had reservations about getting into the sector but these figures should certainly dispel any fears.’ 

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