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Fall in delivery of bungalows as demand rises

Words: Laura Edgar
Bungalow / Ewelina W, Shutterstock_1029052210

Research suggests there has been a rise in the number of over-65s who would consider moving to a bungalow but that only 1,833 were built in 2020 – equating to 1 per cent of the homes built in 2019/20.

In 2018, 2,418 bungalows were built while 2,384 were built in 2019.

McCarthy Stone, a developer and manager of retirement communities, warns that the number of bungalows being built each year is falling.

In 2000, 9,347 bungalows were built – 80 per cent more than the number being built today.

According to a McCarthy Stone survey conducted with Find Out Now*, demand for bungalows, or one-level homes, is rising, with 70 per cent of over-65s saying they would consider moving to a bungalow. This equates to 8.4 million people in the UK and is 10 percentage points more than the demand in 2019.

McCarthy Stone suggests that lockdown and the Covid-19 pandemic might have contributed towards older people considering moving to more suitable properties, such as bungalows.

Respondents to the survey show that their appeal lies in the ability to live on one level (57 per cent); easier maintenance (43 per cent); and being much better suited to older people (39 per cent). Also 36 per cent said they would be able to keep their independence while downsizing.

McCarthy Stone said it would like to see planning legislation “reconsidered to help cater for the increasing market demand for housing designed specifically for older people, including bungalows”. It believes that the planning regime has favoured high-density developments. The allocation of age-restricted bungalow-only sites in local plans and the obligation to provide age-restricted bungalows should be part of the housing mix in larger-scale developments, the developer suggests.

John Tonkiss, McCarthy Stone’s CEO, commented: “Bungalows are increasingly popular among older generations – they are easier to maintain, are built with older people in mind and help to maintain independence for longer given their step-free access and easy adaptability – yet bungalow building has collapsed in recent years. The impact of lockdown and Covid-19 is likely leading older people to want to consider living in a more suitable property, and bungalows fit into this category.

“The importance of building more suitable housing for older people has been brought to the fore by the coronavirus pandemic and the UK has the opportunity to redefine how best to support our ageing population, including through the provision of better housing.

“We urge the government to consider new planning rules to improve the viability of developing bungalow development, for example, through the allocation of age-restricted bungalows-only sites, allowing more low-rise buildings generally, and addressing the viability issues in planning regulations which prevent new bungalow schemes from coming forward.”

* 2,062 over-65s were surveyed.

Image credit | Ewelina W, Shutterstock