We live in an ageing society. Currently, 11 million people in the UK are 65 and over – that’s almost 20% of the population. Within a decade, that will increase to about one in four. But instead of viewing these figures with trepidation, what if later life were something to look forward to – a time when, in fact, you have both the means and the space to live your best life?
This optimistic idea is informing a new cohort of older house-hunters seeking to live in late-life luxury. As Stuart Lewis of Rest Less, an over-50s digital community, says: “People now routinely live 30 or 40 years after retirement. They’re seeking rich and fulfilling lives – and they want attractive homes.”
That means, says Edward Lewis, Savills head of London Residential Development, that they are demanding buyers. “Those in an older life stage are seeking convenience and style,” he says. “Residential developments at the top end of this market are wooing them with good security, car parking and communal aspects like club rooms and spas.” Add proximity to theatres, art galleries and restaurants, and all the ingredients are there for a rich urban lifestyle for sophisticated seniors.
Since the Retirement Villages Group introduced the concept of a later-life community in Surrey’s Elmbridge Village in 1981, we have seen older people’s housing priorities evolve. It’s partly a result of vociferous baby boomers demanding independence, fun, comfort and joy – with a bit of back-up.