Better more accessible homes, a luxury or a necessity?

Published by Mark Wilkins on

Better more accessible homes, luxury or necessity?

It’s been discussed all over the news, on the internet and between peers. The UK housing market is in more than one type of crisis and it’s not getting better any time soon, or at least it doesn’t look that way. Newly built homes are either too expensive or not built quickly enough for more than one reason. Affordability is one of the main factors that stops people from buying new homes, but keeping the prices high is good for the companies building them. The construction business is known to be a profitable one, especially with cheap labor from eastern europe swarming the market, but that’s neither here nor there.

Aside from the fact that houses are harder and more expensive to come by, the existing properties are really old and literally millions of houses are cold, require immediate repairs or even worse. The older properties that have such poor quality are mostly inhabited by older people, that simply can not afford to pay for the repairs, as they have many other problems to deal with and upgrading or improving their living conditions is one of the last things on the list.

Stats show that approximately 1.5 million people over the age of 55 are living in homes that have at least one category 1 hazard. If you’re not familiar with the hazard categories, this one means that there’s risk or a serious threat to the health of the people in the property, or the people visiting the home/flat.

That isn’t the only problem that older people are dealing with though, as study suggests that only about 7-8% of the houses currently on the market are fit for elderly people or people with disabilities, which is totally unacceptable considering much of the english population is getting older and requires some sort of assistance with their day-to-day activities.

If we disregard older people, which is totally unacceptable in a society such as ours and just think about the benefits that better more accessible homes bring are not limited to pensioners. The commercial benefit of building such properties is tremendous. There are lots of people that buy to let and a lot of people that buy as an investment, but if you come accross a tenant that requires special access, you’ll need to invest in fitting the ramp, rebuilding the place so it has a bathroom at the ground level near the entrance, etc. which turns into a hugh hassle, while you could have had all of this done during the design process of the property.

Who’s the main market for accessible properties

Accessible homes are obviously not only for elderly people or disabled people. If you think about it, all of us are getting older one day and if we know that our life will pass in one certain location, why would anyone bother even thinking about changing house. In other words, if we are looking into things long term, it’s safe to say that buying such a house is a great idea even for people that are planning ahead. An accessible home doesn’t mean a home that has crazy accessibility ramps, exits, or elevators to each room. These homes don’t even need to be very expensive, or to look much different from regular houses. They simply require the necessary architectural work and planning to be done ahead, before the construction work commences.

One of the simplest things a bathroom fitter can do is integrate a handle or grip that’ll help when you need to stand up or to install walk-in bathrooms that work for each household member or even visitors.

Building such houses opens a lot of options for reselling, as the segment of elderly people doesn’t only include people that can not afford to buy a new place. A lot of people in their golden years would like to downsize as their children have already left and have families of their own, and a huge 5 bedroom house isn’t necessary any longer. Dealing with the hassle of refitting or rebuilding a house their purchased isn’t something such clients would want to deal with though.

First time buyers and what they look for

When you are younger and have plenty of years ahead of you, your first home can be a mistake and that’s fine. When you have time on your side, things are much easier and you can always go ahead and fix it later on by either reselling or fixing the issues with the place you bought. Thinking how long they’ll continue living in it is important, but what’s more important is the potential for reselling the place and the opportunities you’ll have when you’re selling and when you have a place that ticks all the boxes, selling it is much easier. It’s not about creating something luxurious, building a luxury home, it’s about making sure it’s accessible and works for everyone and the needs of all types of people.

Once you reach your 50s or go over that age, things get a little harder. Learing new skills, moving to a new place, finding new friends, all of that becomes harder and harder with age and moving to a new place or buying a new house to start living is also a challenge. Making sure that this house will suit all your needs for the foreseeable future is even harder and that’s why it’s important that new homes being built are suitable for everyone. Older people or disabled people aren’t even a niche, they are substantial part of our society and disregarding them or not thinking about them as potential clients is plainly put lacking common sense.

Age-proof homes can unlock huge commercial opportunity

This is a missed opportunity for businesses in the housing sector. A big cohort of people is not buying homes – or selling them – because of failings in the system.

To address the problem, we need more diverse housing options that meet the needs of older people, across all types and tenures.


Building age-proof homes is good for everyone

Making sure new homes are suitable for people of all ages is something that’ll help us grow as a society and move the economy forward. People of all ages down the line will benefit from it and this will help us stay connected, stay safe, feel better and possibly live longer, which for a lot of people is their greatest goal.

Making sure all types of people and everyone if our society can benefit from a certain type of house is a long term and important step into us growing in a lot of ways. A lot of people don’t have the long term thinking when it comes to helping society grow or expand and that’s completely normal. Everyone is involved in their daily activities and doens’t have time to even think about such things. The fact of the matter is that once you can wrap your head around the fact, that sustainable and accessible homes are the future, you can only benefit from making your business better and ensuring it’s growing quickly.

Building new homes won’t necessarily fix the problem though. London and other larger cities in the UK don’t have any other land where new houses of that kind can be built in. It’s estimated that by 2050, 80% of the houses that the population will live in, are already built and exist today. It’s important to make the steps to ensure all of those homes have the necessary .


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