It was a busy year for data collection as we worked to update our information on new-build housing completions delayed from 2020-21, as well as to capture as much as we could of pipeline data for schemes likely to complete in 2023-25.
We added 315 developments into the EAC database, 175 (56%) new ones and the remainder the result of sleuthing for older schemes, usually small ones, that we were not previously aware of. After deduction of scheme closures during the year the database now contains 25,600 scheme records.
New supply by year and tenure, 2018-2022
All age-restricted housing
Housing with care only
We can all be happy that headline numbers for 2022 bounced back to around the average of 2018-19, albeit no further. However our 2023 figures to date indicate that this could be the best year for a long time.
The last two years have seen completions of new housing-with-care units exceed other forms of specialist housing for older people. It has to be said however that evolution in this part of the market is extremely rapid. Many social sector schemes initially billed as ‘extra care’ are dubbed ‘independent living’ on completion, with dedicated 24/7 on-site care no longer provided. In the private sector care is increasingly brokered as required from 3rd party suppliers. Only McCarthy Stone and Housing 21 are now building at scale to the early extra care model.
EAC supply data continues to be licensed on an ongoing basis by 11 major companies, with another handful of surveyors and planners using it for one-off pieces of work.
The site remains very popular. During 2022 it had 3.5 million visitors who viewed 6.4 million profiles of retirement housing facilities.
We are grateful to the 22 housing developers, managers and estate agents whose subscriptions contribute enormously to enabling us to maintain the site. This year we have invested considerably in working with several of them to streamline the way they supply live ‘availability data’ to us. This enables us to supplement HousingCare’s completely free offer to all providers with near real-time information on individual properties currently being marketed or let by subscribers.
During the year we also added over 9,000 facility photos to the site – another of the routine tasks necessary to keep it fresh and ensure that older schemes and developments are presented in the best way we can.
An important current initiative is to increase HousingCare’s coverage of shared ownership retirement housing provision – an important, though at present complicated, option for less well off older people.
We kept a ‘housing options’ information and advice service going for as long as we could with 12 months funding from OneFamily mutual. This enabled us to recruit three part time Advisors of our own and partner with Bassetlaw Action Centre to provide initial call handling and triaging. The experience of trying to help several thousand people was a powerful reminder of the toll that Covid isolation had taken on so many older people, the heartaches suffered by their family members and therefore the urgent need for a national service to help them find best-fit housing solutions to living safely and well at home in older age.
A key strand in EAC’s forward plan is to ally with and support a larger charity to deliver just this, and to work with the Government’s proposed taskforce on housing for older people to help secure a mix of funding to support it.
Older People’s Housing Taskforce update20 August 2023The Taskforce, set up by Government and chaired by Professor Julienne Meyer, held its inaugural meeting on 17th May 2023 and will run for up to a year. It is tasked with exploring how the range of housing options available to older people in England can be expanded, and making recommendations to Ministers Rachel Maclean (Housing) and Helen Whatley (Care). An interim report is expected during September 2023.