New research by Papworth Trust and Habinteg highlights the hidden housing market for 1.8m disabled people.
Why it is time for developers to take another look at accessible housing…
The new findings launched today clearly show the demand for accessible housing to rent and buy. Conducted by teams at the London School of Economics (LSE) and Ipsos Mori, the ‘hidden housing market’ report uncovers a fresh view that challenges assumptions about the potential for disabled people to buy their own home. The report also sheds light on the wider appeal of homes that deliver higher quality accessible features.
- 1.8 million disabled people have an accessible housing need – 580,000 of whom are of working age (there are 11.6 million disabled people in the UK)
- Of the 1.8 million disabled people needing accessible homes, 56% are home owners with 39% having incomes in the top half of the income distribution
- 19% of the British public would most favour moving to a different property specifically designed or adapted to enable them to live independently in later life
- Impact of unmet housing need for accessible housing – disabled people living in inaccessible homes are four times more likely to be unemployed.
The report also demonstrates some of the profound effects on working age disabled people of not having their need for accessible housing met, including an impact on health and wellbeing, the ability to engage in community life and, crucially, the employment market.
When surveyed on potential later life housing needs, fewer than 1 in 10 of the public (6%) say they would favour moving to specialist care and supported housing, while the majority (59%) of disabled people who are 65 and over say that they will need accessible housing features in the next five years.
Of course the benefits of accessible homes are not only experienced by disabled people. Whether they are a couple with small children, a young professional having furniture delivered to their first home or an active retiree grandparent – all can benefit from the features of inclusively designed homes.
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.”
Paul Gamble, Chief Executive of Habinteg said:
“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.”
“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.”
Papworth Trust and Habinteg have between them a long history of providing and promoting accessible and adaptable homes for disabled and non-disabled people. They have a jointly held belief that disabled and older people deserve better housing options and that the accessibility of new homes must be a priority – not only for the benefit of individuals and families but as a common sense way of future proofing housing investment.
The Hidden Market for Accessible Homes report includes four priority recommendations:
- Developers should look again at their target markets and products. Are they missing out on a significant market opportunity?
- Developers, planners and health and social care commissioners should take note of the desire of the public to maintain independence in mainstream housing and communities as they age or develop needs for care and support
- Government departments should collaborate to investigate the relationship between unmet need for accessible housing and being out of work. As part of the government drive to reduce the employment gap for disabled people, understanding the fundamental role that appropriate housing play will be crucial
- Improving our national data resources is critical if we are to respond effectively to the nation’s housing needs. Disregarding the needs of families with disabled children from the official statistics is a missed opportunity to match housing need with accurate, evidence based plans
The research used in the report uses a mix of analysis of government data, in-depth telephone surveys and interviews with disabled people and opinion polling conducted by teams at the LSE and Ipsos Mori, as part of a programme overseen by independent researcher and adviser Martin Wheatley.
See the summary report here: http://www.habinteg.org.uk/hidden-housing-market