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Review of; Why older people need more market rent housing, Housing LIN, Jenny Pannell, February 2018 

Editorial panel review

This is an easy to access, interesting discussion of the existing evidence on the private rental market for older people. This paper is based on reviewing existing evidence, comment and cases studies of provision and does not contain any new research. 

The briefing provides an up to date walk through on the issue of market rent for older people. It’s conclusion is that as the number of older people in the private rented sector increases, there is a growing need for the development of market rent products for older people. It also provides evidence through the case studies that this is starting to happen. It argues that this types of provision is needed for those who cannot gain access to the social rented market and do not have equity to buy a more suitable home or downsize. It argues that this is needed and important to provide both temporary and permanent answer to housing needs in later life. 

Other specific benefits sited of build to rent for older people include:
• Provides long term investment returns, reducing the ups and down of the sales market. 
• Can support mixed communities in the build to rent market.
• Can help housing providers support a great range of need. 

It highlights clear evidence that the cohort of older people in the private rented sector is increasing significantly, 254,000 in 2006-07 to 414,000 in 2016-17 according to the England Housing Survey. The briefing also feature case studies of a number of housing providers building private rented housing targeted at this age group. 

However, this is clearly an emerging trend and the case study examples are embryonic. They do not provide significant information regarding demand and success of these products. The paper also, due to lack of existing evidence, test interest and demand. Neither does is consider what types of housing for older people is needed, where demand might fluctuant across different markets, the costs of provision versus affordability or links to care and support provision. 

Here at ExtraCare we found no appetite for our market rental product, compared to social rent, shared ownership and outright sale. However, the evidence presented here clearly shows this should be a watching brief as the nature of those in the private rented sector, and demands from older people, are changing.