Addressing the Housing Needs of England’s Aging Population: A Crisis in the Making

As England’s population ages, the housing market faces a looming crisis. By 2040, nearly 22% of the population will be aged 66 and over, yet the country is only building 7,000 retirement units annually. This rate is far from sufficient to meet the growing demand of an aging demographic.


Under-Occupancy: A Growing Concern

Compounding the issue is the trend of under-occupancy among older adults. Currently, 52% of households headed by individuals aged 66 and over have more space than necessary. If this trend continues, over 4.5 million homes could be under-occupied by those aged 65 and over by 2040. This highlights the urgent need for better housing planning and increased construction of suitable homes for the elderly.


The Challenge of Healthcare at Home

The shift towards “healthcare at home” is adding another layer of complexity. As more care is provided in people’s residences, the need for appropriate housing becomes even more critical. Projections indicate an additional 7.5 million people aged 65 and over in the UK within the next 50 years, placing immense pressure on the housing system and care providers alike.


Demand for Suitable Housing

According to the think tank Demos, 58% of homeowners aged 60 or over are interested in moving, but many feel restricted by the lack of suitable housing. Muller is mindful of this challenge as we explore land development opportunities, aiming to include elements such as retirement living, affordable homes, and care homes in our property portfolio.


Care home development must be a priority given that the UK elderly care market is at risk of reaching capacity by the end of the decade. We must ensure that we construct new, high-quality care homes in parallel with guaranteeing the renovation of existing stock to meet the needs of older residents and ensure the residential care system is ready for the future.

Julian Evans
Head of Healthcare, Knight Frank


Economic and Social Benefits

Providing the right housing for older people has significant social and economic benefits. While there have been positive strides in mainstream and specialist housing, the options remain insufficient for our rapidly expanding elderly population. Properly suited housing can improve the quality of life for older adults and reduce pressure on the NHS and community social care, benefiting local authorities and the government. Additionally, there aren’t enough workers to provide care to a widely dispersed older population. Keeping older people in hospitals is not a viable option, as it blocks beds and lengthens waiting lists.


Rising Numbers of the “Oldest” Old

The number of people aged 80 and over is also rising, with 3.2 million individuals currently in this age group, including almost 600,000 aged 90 and over. By 2041, it’s expected that there will be over 3 million people aged 85 or over, more than double the current number.


Englands Aging Population - Care Home Stats


Shortfall in Elderly Care Homes

The elderly care home market in Great Britain faces a significant shortfall, with 45,000 en-suite bedrooms currently needed, a figure projected to grow to 58,000 by 2025. Since 2012, en-suite provision in elderly care homes has risen from 62% to 73%, but the demand continues to outstrip supply.


Increasing Health Challenges

Around 4 million older people (40% of those aged 65 and over) have a limiting long-term illness or disability, a number expected to rise to over 6 million by 2030. Additionally, around 850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia, with predictions of this number reaching 1 million by 2025. A third of these individuals are currently in residential care settings.


The Potential of the Later Living Sector

With the gap between housing supply and demand expected to widen further by 2040, the later living sector presents the greatest growth potential in the housing market. Addressing under-occupied homes can help alleviate the housing crisis by freeing up more family homes. Ensuring that older adults reside in accommodations suited to their needs improves their quality of life and reduces the strain on healthcare services. 



At Muller, we are committed to addressing these challenges through thoughtful land promotion and development. By prioritising retirement living, affordable homes, and care homes, we aim to contribute to a more sustainable and supportive housing market for England’s aging population.

Explore our latest projects designed to support England’s aging population and help bridge the gap between supply and demand here



The above data was sourced from; MHA Methodist Homes,  Market Movers 2022 – elderly care home sector,, Marrons: Housing Need 2040 Report