Research by McCarthy Stone, specialist developer of housing for pensioners, has found that the number of bungalows being built in the UK is plummeting as demand is rising.
Just 1,833 new bungalows were built in 2020, a fall of 23% compared to 2019 and less than 1% of new homes built.
Twenty years ago, in 2000, there were 9,347 bungalows built.
McCarthy Stone’s research also found that 70% of over-65s would consider moving to a bungalow, an increase from 60% in 2019. This equates to 8.4 million people, an increase of 1.2 million from 2019
Planning rules to date have limited the viability of bungalows, favouring high-density developments instead. McCarthy Stone wants current planning legislation reconsidered to help cater for the increasing market demand for housing designed specifically for older people, including bungalows.
This could include the allocation of age-restricted bungalow-only sites in local plans and the obligation to provide age-restricted bungalows as part of the housing mix in larger scale developments.
McCarthy Stone chief executive John Tonkiss said: “Bungalows are increasingly popular among older generations – they are easier to maintain, are built with older people in mind and help 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 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.”
McCarthy Stone is one of the few companies developing new bungalows, and was granted planning consent for a development of 49 bungalows in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire in January.
This follows a development in Olney, Milton Keynes, where construction has just started on 58 dwellings, including 10 bungalows.
With a portfolio of 410 bungalows across 20 sites in total, Woodhall Spa signals McCarthy Stone’s commitment to addressing the undersupply of bungalows by ramping up building of this type of housing so that it becomes a core part of its portfolio. To date, demand for bungalows at McCarthy Stone developments has been consistently high, the company said.