Senior housing in Scotland: a development and investment opportunity?

Andrew Fyfe, Norman Hutchison

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)
    23 Downloads (Pure)


    Purpose: This article aims to understand the housing needs of older people and to ascertain the level of demand and supply of age-related housing in Scotland. It also explores interest in different types of retirement accommodation and tenure options. Design/methodology/approach: A review of existing literature is undertaken on senior housing preferences and residential satisfaction. Primary data is collected from an online survey of people over 55 in Scotland to ascertain demand side requirements with secondary data on current supply obtained from the Elderly Accommodation Counsel and data on future pipeline collated from market reports. Findings: The results from the survey confirm earlier research that seniors when looking for accommodation in their retirement years particularly focus on the local area, access to shops, social relations with neighbours and the design of the home interior. Current analysis of the level of supply at a county level reveals that there is significant undersupply with some particularly striking regional differences. Along with a desire for owner occupation there is interest, particularly among the 75 plus age group, to lease their accommodation, perhaps a consequence of volatile property markets, insufficient pension provision or a desire to pass wealth to their family prior to death. This shortfall in supply highlights development opportunities and raises the possibility of introducing a build-to-rent senior housing offering, which may be of interest to institutional investors. Practical implications: The Scottish Government is currently reviewing its strategy for Scotland's older people. The results are of practical benefit as they expose the gaps in supply of age-related stock at county level. This may require the government to introduce policy measures to encourage a mix of housing types suited for the ageing demographics of the population. This research highlights opportunities for developers and investors to fill that gap and explains why advancements in technology should be incorporated in the design process. Originality/value: This paper brings together supply side data of senior housing in Scotland and provides insights into the housing preferences of seniors. It will be of direct value and interest to developers and institutional investors.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)525-544
    Number of pages20
    JournalJournal of Property Investment & Finance
    Issue number6
    Early online date21 Dec 2020
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    Under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001, local authorities are required to prepare and submit a Local Housing Strategy (LHS) which is supported by an assessment of housing need and demand and subject to consultation and engagement with communities. The government had set a target of 50,000 affordable homes to be built by March 2021. This need is now unlikely to be met as a consequence of COVID-19. Funding for these homes comes from the Affordable Housing Supply Programme. Local authorities use their 3-years Resource Planning Assumption (RPA) from the Scottish Government to prepare Strategic Housing Investment plans (SHIPs) for their areas. These plans are the key documents for identifying strategic housing projects to assist the achievement of the 50,000 homes target. Currently, it does not appear that there is any policy obligation to build a set amount of senior homes per annum. It is up to local authorities to define need based on the demographics of their area.

    The authors express their thanks to the Elderly Accommodation Counsel for their assistance throughout this project and to Caroline Laurenson for her help on technology advancements.

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited.

    Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


    • senior housing
    • residential satisfaction
    • build-to-rent
    • IoT in home living
    • Build-to-rent
    • Senior housing
    • Residential satisfaction
    • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
    • Finance
    • General Business, Management and Accounting


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