With constant advances in technology, medicine and lifestyles, people in the Derby area are, on average, living longer than they might have a few decades ago.
As Derby’s population ages, the problem of how the older generation are accommodated is starting to emerge. We, as a city, have to consider how we supply decent and appropriate accommodation for Derby’s growing older generation’s accommodation needs while still offering a lifestyle that is both modern and desirable.
In 1997 in Derby, around one in every six people (16%) were aged 65 years and over. This remained at around one in every six people (16%) in 2017 and it is projected to reach around one in every five people (21%) by 2037, meaning that over the next 18 years, the growth of the over 65 population in Derby will grow by 31.3% – a lot more than the overall growth population of Derby of 8.2% over the same time frame.
In fact, the number of those over 90 is expected to double in our local authority from 2,272 (0.9%) in 2017 to 4,413 (1.6%) by 2037.
This is going to cause a major housing problem for the elderly…
If we also look at the proportional percentage changes over those years you can clearly see that there has been an insignificant change in the three different age groups in the 20 years between 1997 and 2017, however, the predicted changes in the next 20 years are very different!
I have looked at both the statistics on population growth and age bands offered by the Office of National Statistics which can be filtered down to council level.
Under supply of Retirement Living
Looking at Derby and the local authority as a whole, there is a distinct under supply of bungalows and retirement living (i.e. sheltered) accommodation.
The majority of sheltered accommodation fit for retirement is in the ex-local authority sector whilst the majority of private sector bungalows were built in the 1960s/70s/80s and are beginning to show their age.
This does mean that there is often an opportunity for Derby investors and Derby buy to let landlords to buy a tired bungalow, do it up and flip it or, rent it out.
The Domino Effect
In the medium to longer term, we need to build more bungalows and sheltered accommodation to benefit to the elderly population of Derby.
However, not only will this have a direct impact on providing the necessary accommodation for the elderly, it will also have a direct knock-on effect to the younger and middle-aged population by allowing those family homes the older generation homeowners live in to enter into the property market.
Get Your Priorities Right!
Did you know that there have been 17 Housing Ministers since 1997? Coincidentally, the same number as permanent Derby County managers!!
No housing minister ever seems to stay in the job long enough to create a consensus and direction in Government Policy on the vital issue of the country’s housing shortage. The sound bites and White Papers seem only to focus exclusively on first-time buyers when there is an even more severe and disregarded shortage in suitable housing for the older generation.
This scantiness affects both mature homeowners trapped in unsuitably big family properties, unable to find smaller bungalows or suitable retirement apartments, whilst the waiting list for Council sheltered accommodation is putting a strain on other aspects of social care. In both circumstances, policy coming, or not coming, out of Government is repressing the supply and type of accommodation mature people desire, need and want, whilst at the same time, increasing the cost and taxes for social and NHS care.
What about offering tax breaks for people to downsize or planning permissions that stipulate bungalows only?
Whichever way you look .. there are going to be challenging times ahead if this issue is not addressed.