McCarthy & Stone profits slump as the population ages
MCCARTHY & Stone has warned that Britain is “woefully unprepared” for the demands of its rapidly-ageing population, as profits halved following tepid demand for second-hand homes.
The group said the Government is in danger of ignoring the housing needs of older people if it fails to widen its focus beyond first-time buyers and deliver policy which supports the construction of retirement housing.
Its clarion call came as profits took a battering from a cocktail of pressures, including the sluggish second-hand market, escalating building costs, lower completions and a need to bolster marketing spend to help lift sales.
It also suffered from a pause in “build-start activity” in the wake of the Brexit vote in June 2016.
Pre-tax profits plummeted 52 per cent to £10.5m for the halfyear ending February 28, while revenues eked out 1 per cent growth at £239.6m over the period.
Chief executive Clive Fenton said trading was “resilient”, but he urged politicians to use a review of planning and social care legislation to rebalance housing policy towards helping older people.
He said: “The growing need for retirement housing caused by our rapidly ageing population also means the long-term prospects for our business continue to be positive.
“However, the UK remains woefully unprepared for these demographic changes and we are calling for a joined-up policy approach across all Government departments to encourage the delivery of better housing options for older people.”
The firm saw its average selling price climb 15 per cent to £298,000 for the halfyear.