Fall in number of bungalows being built despite ageing population

News Article

It is the building that has symbolised a quieter, gentler way of life for more than a century. Bungalows are very much in demand by those approaching retirement, wanting to do without the hassle of having to climb stairs. They also provide easy access for wheelchair users and those who are unsteady on their feet.

With an ageing UK population, demand for single-storey homes is likely to grow but developers dealing with rocketing land prices are under pressure to build upwards.

In 2014, just 1% of new builds in the UK were bungalows, according to the National House Building Council – down from 7% in 1996. The proportion of new homes which were flats or maisonettes more than doubled from 15% to 33%.

Plans for councils in England to sell off their higher-value properties to pay for more construction could result in 15,300 bungalows going into private hands by 2021, warns the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, with many of them likely to be knocked down and replaced with multi-storey homes.

The government’s English Housing Survey for 2013-14 found just under one in 10 owner-occupied homes – and 3.8% of private rental homes – were bungalows. Bungalows accounted for 10.9% of council homes and 11.2% of homes run by housing associations.

But a survey by YouGov for the Papworth Trust disability charity last year suggested 47 per cent of over-55s wanted to live in a bungalow when they retired.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has recently announced £400 million in funding to deliver specialist homes for elderly and disabled people, as well as putting in place new building regulations so more homes can be built to meet their needs.

Age UK says bungalows should be one of a “range of options” but the distribution of them varies by region and they must be close to amenities like shops and public transport.

Tim Steele, a partner and specialist in elder client issues, said: “With an ageing population and the cost of care homes rising, it is understandable that people want to plan for the future by moving to a property which affords them easier access and an opportunity to live independently for as long as possible.

“The effect of supply and demand and the likely rise in the cost of bungalows could well mean that people who once ‘downsized’ by moving from a larger house to a small bungalow, will instead be making a sideways step, swapping to a property which offers greater practicalities but without the benefit of leftover funds.

“We can provide advice and practical support with property sales and purchases and on various issues relating to planning for later life, including asset protection, long-term care, Wills and powers of attorney. For more information, please contact us.