Supported and older people’s housing development survey

08 March 2023


In autumn 2021 the National Housing Federation surveyed members to explore plans and appetite for developing more supported and older people’s housing and to better understand the barriers to development in this sector. 

At the end of 2022, we surveyed our members again about their development plans for supported housing over the next five years. We also asked about the most significant barriers to development of more homes. This was a repeat of our survey in 2021 with some small amendments, enabling us to compare the two sets where possible.

There is a serious need for more specialist housing in England, but the environment in which housing associations are operating has only become more challenging from the first year the survey was carried out.

The increased costs in building and running this type of housing, coupled with a social housing sector rent increase cap for 2023/24 and high borrowing costs, has made it a difficult time to engage in new development.

In this context, the survey provides a timely summary of housing associations’ appetite for development despite these challenges, how this compares to the previous year and the key barriers to building more homes. The research also sits alongside the progress of the Supported Housing Regulation Bill through parliament and our recent research on the value of supported housing produced with Imogen Blood Associates.

Key findings from 2022 survey

  • Development plans for older people’s housing represent almost 6% of respondents’ existing stock.
  • Development plans for working-age people with support needs represents just over 3% of respondents’ existing stock (although respondents’ plans to decommission or remodel amount to almost 3% of existing stock).
  • 69% of respondents said they would have greater ambition to develop more homes if the conditions allowed.

Respondents indicated that the most significant barriers to development are:

  • Capital grant available per unit too low.
  • Planning and availability of land.
  • Reduction in commissioned support.