Published On: Fri, Sep 8th, 2017

Legal and General enters the retirement housing sector

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Legal & General announces its establishment of Inspired Villages Group, which is formed out of English Care Villages, a best in class operator and developer of later living accommodation.  English Care Villages’ high-quality management team is joining Legal & General, following the acquisition of the assets of two joint ventures between English Care Villages and Places for People for around £40m.

Meeting the UK’s demographic, healthcare and affordable living needs, and consistent with Legal & General’s housing growth strategy, Inspired Villages will accelerate the evolution of the sector.  Creating around 3,000 new, quality homes over the next five years; our aim is to become a leading later living housing operator.

The UK continues to have a chronic shortfall of over 100,000 homes per year.  According to L&G’s Last Time Buyers[1] report, there are 3.3m Last Time Buyers looking to rightsize in the UK.  The over 65s age bracket is growing five times faster than the working age population[2], yet only 7,000 homes were delivered to this sector last year making it the most under-supplied area of the housing market.

Inspired Villages creates an environment and lifestyle choice for people whose existing homes no longer suit their needs.  Established in 2009 English Care Villages has worked with Anchor Trust in developing Bishopstoke and Yateley in Hampshire, utilising experience from Richmond Villages. Inspired Villages currently has two schemes, in Warwick and Cheshire, comprising over 300 homes and a GDV of around £110m, creating a safe, secure, social and comfortable village environment in which residents can celebrate the freedom of later life.

With Legal & General’s long term financial backing, Inspired Villages will acquire several sites per year.  Creating vibrant villages on the edge of and within the UK’s towns and cities, it is looking to build where people want to live.  Most retirees move less than five miles from their home when they right-size and want to have access to family, friends and facilities.  Each village offers a wide choice of homes that will suite different lifestyles. These single level homes will start from £250,000. The hub of the village is set around the village square with landscaped gardens, restaurants, gym, social activities and access to appropriate care.

Nigel Wilson, CEO of Legal & General, says:  “Despite the fact that the UK is a great place to invest, thirty years of chronic underinvestment have led to poor productivity, inadequate real wage growth, market failures and low economic growth. Later living is a classic example of underinvestment; it has now been added to Legal & General’s £15bn UK direct investment programme.”

Phil Bayliss, Head of Later Living at Legal & General Capital, says:  “It is widely recognised that the UK is underprepared to support its ageing population.  Over 3m over 65s are looking to downsize and only 7,000 housing with care properties are being built each year.  The UK suffers from a chronic undersupply of age-specific housing as well as spiralling health and social care spend.  We believe our long term capital can deliver significant housing, health and wellbeing benefits for those in later life. Through our investment in Inspired Villages, we are partnering with a best in class management team who have the track record of delivery and a like-minded long term vision to create sustainable communities that support people through their later life.  Our homes will provide our customers with an opportunity to use equity locked up in houses that are too big to manage to improve their quality of life and remain in their communities.”

Keith Cockell, Chairman of Inspired Villages, says: “There is no household in the UK that isn’t faced with the challenges of an ageing family member. With more of the population celebrating their 70th birthday than at any time in our history, we will deliver new homes and a lifestyle to enable these baby boomers to age with grace.  By design we can create great places for people to live. Our master planning will echo the environment found in our very best communities, where everybody is connected by their proximity to one another. The people who live in and visit our villages, will make them great places for everyone.”

Jamie Bunce, CEO of Inspired Villages, comments:  “With Legal & General’s investment in Inspired Villages we will create communities across the whole of the UK where people want to live. We will reinforce the family ethos with support and services provided as required. An Inspired Village is more than just bricks and mortar, we are creating positive environments where people can remain socially engaged, comfortable, safe and secure while they enjoy later life. Our well qualified, highly motivated operational and development teams are very excited about what can be achieved through Inspired Villages with Legal & General’s support. We can truly make a difference to so many people’s lives in ensuring superbly designed living environments are created across the UK.”

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