Can housing bridge the generation gap?

25th September 2019

For many, the housing crisis is a challenge faced by young people struggling to get onto the first rung of the property ladder.

However, at the other end of the scale, many older people feel equally trapped. They want to downsize but have nowhere to more to without moving away from the area. One of their key concerns is that relocation would mean losing touch with friends and family, resulting in social isolation.

One solution to break this stalemate is intergenerational living. In the Netherlands for example, this type of scheme has seen students moving into retirement schemes. In exchange for somewhere to live, the students spend thirty hours taking part in community projects and events.

Whilst there have been a few intergenerational living schemes in the UK, the concept has yet to find popular support.

From a developer’s perspective, targeting a single demographic is a cost effective and efficient design choice. It allows them to replicate a few apartment designs across multiple schemes. From a purchasing perspective the economies of scale can be substantial.

In contrast, many intergenerational living projects blend a variety of designs and sizes together. This increases complexity, which in turn increases costs and reduces profit margins. Despite this, the number of intergenerational schemes at the pre-application stage in the UK is growing.

Once a critical mass of inter-generational developments is in place, the entire market is likely to become much more dynamic and mobile. So one relatively small change could well have a dramatic and positive impact on the entire housing market.

Katherine Rose, Prsim’s Director of Data & Advisory Services commented: “A thought-provoking article about intergenerational living. Across all of our BTR schemes Prsim are seeing a variety of ages in our tenants that ranges from young couples and families, all the way through to single retirees. Whether this evolves naturally or is openly encouraged, we feel that intergenerational living can only be positive. If you would like to understand more about tenant demographics or would like to talk about how Prsim could provide a lease up strategy or management proposal for your BTR scheme, please do get in touch.”

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