London is in urgent need of intergenerational housing to cope with an ageing population, the planning system needs an overhaul to accommodate that, but new models and investors are emerging which may help to plug the gap.
Those were some of the key thoughts arising from ‘Under one roof: the rise of intergenerational housing’ an NLA webinar
on housing issues held last week.
Simon Hodson, head of UK Healthcare at JLL, said that Covid had put our attitude to how we age into sharp relief, especially given the UK’s ageing population, with more people over 65 than under 5 at the moment. The Humanitas experimental project in Deventer in the Netherlands – in which students live in a scheme with the elderly in exchange for 30 hours of their free time per month and preparing and serving weekday meals – was an interesting model, said Hodson, but provision here is in a precarious position. ‘For those in later life who need the highest level of care and assistance, we have a significant under provision in the UK’, he said.
Despite some cultural challenges, multi-generational housing and co-living projects were ‘creeping into the narrative’, but, said Hodson, the planning system does not ‘get into the granular’ at a local level and needs a ‘significant overhaul at national level’. There is a shortage of age-exclusive communities presenting opportunities for investors driven by environmental and social governance goals and yet there is certainly money in the sector, with over 75% of all housing equity owned by the over 50s – the equivalent of something like £1.7 trillion. ‘We have a rapidly changing ageing population which is completely underserved by modern housing delivery’, Hodson added, pointing to a big opportunity around scale, ‘because this whole challenge revolves around the strength of the community’.
From Simon Hodson's presentation © Jones Lang LaSalle