New report finds care home market in urgent need of upgrading

A new report by property consultancy Knight Frank has highlighted the pressing need for new care homes in a sector where demand is drastically outstripping supply.

According to Knight Frank’s new Healthcare Development Opportunities report, despite the population of over-65s having grown by 19 per cent over the past decade, care home bed supply has grown by a mere 2.7 per cent over the same period.

Worryingly, the report finds that the UK care home market consists mainly of ‘older, purpose-built stock that, in some cases, may be considered obsolete’. According to Knight Frank, over 80 per cent of care homes are more than twenty-years old, almost a third of all care home beds lack en suite bathroom facilities, and 21 per cent of homes are either inadequate or require improvement according to the CQC.

While there is a trend towards smaller, older, care homes being replaced with larger, purpose-built homes, new homes are simply not being built quickly enough according to the report, although it recognises that a recent upturn suggests that 2022’s post-pandemic dip in construction and completion seems to have been overcome.

Julian Evans, head of healthcare at Knight Frank, said: “It is more than clear that we need to build more homes to service our ageing population. The demographic shift is such that by 2050 we anticipate a shortfall of more than 200,000 beds.

“While new beds are being developed, the level of home closures means that supply cannot keep up with demand.

“The UK elderly care market is at risk of reaching capacity by the end of the decade, and this is a worrying projection. Not only must we build more care homes, but we must take action to support standing stock to reduce the level of home closures, which continues to work against the delivery of new homes as we attempt to grow the supply level.”

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