Research reveals the demand for accessible housing

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New research suggests there is significant demand for accessible housing and calls on developers to tap into the ‘hidden housing market’…

Findings from research conducted by the London School of Economics (LSE) and Ipsos MORI has revealed the scope of the accessible housing market.

The research, which was carried out on behalf of the Papworth Trust and Habinteg, shows the potential for developers to tap into this ‘hidden housing market’ and deliver more accessible properties.

The report highlighted there are 11.6 million people with disabilities living in the UK. Of this figure, 1.8 million have unmet housing needs, and a total of 580,000 are of working age.

Furthermore, of the 1.8 million people who need accessible homes a total of 56 per cent are homeowners, with 39 per cent in the top half of the income distribution.

There is no doubt there is demand for accessible properties. The report also revealed 19 per cent of the British public would move into a property designed to allow them to live independently in later life. Fewer than one in 10 of the public (six per cent) said they would favour moving into specialist care and supported housing in later life, while 59 per cent of people with disabilities over the age of 65 said they will personally need accessible housing within the next five years.

Living in a home that is not accessible can have a significant impact on working-age people, including poorer health and isolation from the community. The importance of accessible properties becomes even more apparent when considering people with disabilities who live in inaccessible homes are four times more likely to be unemployed.

Vicky McDermott, chief executive of Papworth Trust, said: “It has been widely assumed that disabled people do not have the means or money to purchase their own home. This report clearly dispels this myth and shows the demand for buying accessible homes, and the opportunity for developers to look again at their market.

“Papworth Trust’s and Habinteg’s on-going extensive research looks into the housing market, but also the impact the lack of accessible homes creates, highlighting the fact that people living in inaccessible homes are four times more likely to be unemployed.

“Building more accessible homes is a fundamental part of future-proofing the housing market, with a short term investment and a long term positive social impact on other services.”

Habinteg’s chief executive Paul Gamble said this research shed light on the demand for accessible properties.

“Habinteg and others have campaigned about the lack of accessible housing provision in the UK for a long time. This new evidence is extremely important to the growing alliance who wants to see an increasing supply of accessible housing to rent and buy,” he said.

“New homes that are accessible, affordable and available must play a part in addressing the long term demands of UK housing policy, especially as the population ages. We’re hoping to see a new commitment to this from the government, local authorities and developers from now on.”

Recommendations within the report include the call for developers to closely examine their target markets and take note of the desire for many to remain living in mainstream housing.

It also called upon government departments to investigate the link between accessible housing and unemployment. This will help understand the role of appropriate housing for people with disabilities.

The report said there needed to be an improvement of national data to ensure accessible housing needs are met sufficiently.

The research was collated from government data, an in-depth telephone survey, and interviews with people with disabilities. Furthermore, LSE and Ipsos MORI carried out an opinion poll. Between 16 March and 12 April 2016, face-to-face in-home interviews were also carried out with 2,074 adults.

The full report is available here: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/case/cr/casereport109.pdf

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