The country? No, I want to stay at the heart of it all
currently under construction in the city, according to data from the Elderly Accommodation Counsel. This is compounded by the fact that, according to the 2011 census, 54 per cent of over-65s are under-occupying their London homes by two or more bedrooms. As mayor of London, Boris Johnson even proposed setting up an initiative to encourage older people to retire to the coast, freeing up homes.
“Despite the demographic shift in the capital, there has been very little bespoke housing delivered for older people who would like to downsize, but are trapped in their family homes because there is nothing for them,” explains Henry Lumby, formerly retirement director at Savills. He is now managing director of Amicala, a new retirement specialist that is set to build high-rise villages in London. “Building high means buyers can enjoy fabulous views, and sit outside on the roof terrace away from the pollution at street level,” says Neil MacKichan of retirement property website Retiremove. “London needs more dedicated retirement housing at various price points to enable older people to live in safe and secure properties that can provide care if they need it.”
Retirement developers are increasingly catering to a more discerning customer, building towers with roof gardens, swimming pools and restaurants, and shifting their approach from retirement living as a hospital option to a hospitality one.
High-end developer PegasusLife has already conquered the capital with four schemes; its tallest is Hampstead Green Place, comprising 59 apartments over eight floors with communal roof terraces and a penthouse.
Luxury operator Audley, which has built 16 retirement villages with care facilities across the South East, is building its first one in London by Clapham Common. Some 94 one and two-bedroom apartments with a restaurant, pool, library and spa will rise over eight storeys and be completed in 2020.
“It is a myth that everyone wants to move to the country as they get older,” says Nick Sanderson, Audley’s chief executive.
Leading the trend of older people
A PegasusLife home in Hampstead