Challenges in the care home market: How LandInsight can help

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Andrea Duke
June 18, 2024
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The care home market offers substantial opportunities for developers in the coming decade. With a shortfall in care home beds set to hit 144,000 by 2032 and an increase of over 10 million people aged 65-79 predicted by the ONS, there’s a genuine urgency for these developments. However, acquiring and developing the right piece of land for these developments isn’t always smooth sailing. 

In this blog, we’ll explore some of the main issues developers face, and how using a proptech tool, like LandInsight, can help navigate these challenges. 

Finding the right site with the right data

The decline in the number of care homes and the rapid ageing of the UK population are not in dispute. However, there are areas of the country already well served both in terms of existing care homes and those in the pipeline. 

In our recent data report, we’ve outlined these well-served areas, as well as those that are underserved, taking into consideration the ageing population and existing care homes. Using this report as a starting point, you can easily identify some areas that may deserve further exploration, but in order to find suitable parcels for development, you’ll need to further narrow your search. 

From finding parcels that are large enough to suit the development’s requirements to understanding the wider surrounding neighbourhood’s infrastructure, you’ll need both a precise and broad view to identify suitable sites for consideration. 

First, starting with LandInsight’s demographics layer, you can visualise demographics insights as a heat map or delve further and select from countless ‘output areas’ to find out more - helping you to better understand the local population. 

Another important aspect when considering sites for care home development isn’t just the local population it will serve - local amenities are crucial to consider as well. Proximity to local transit, medical facilities and supermarkets is imperative for encouraging future residents of the development to live a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. To assess the surrounding area’s infrastructure, you can now review the amenities layer in LandInsight.

To narrow your search for a suitable site, you can filter for the criteria that meets your project requirements, including parcel size, tenure, ownership type using LandInsight’s Site Sourcing tool. These results will then appear in a list format, which you can download as a CSV and on the map in groups of properties. 


Assessing planning permission

Acquiring planning permission is a significant contributing factor in the falling number of care homes in the pipeline, as the determination periods for all applications continues to slip and the overall number of planning applications submitted continues to decline. 

The 2023 National Planning Policy Framework gives the following guidance on housing for older people: 

"Within this context of establishing need, the size, type and tenure of housing needed for different groups in the community should be assessed and reflected in planning policies. These groups should include (but are not limited to) those who require affordable housing; families with children; older people (including those who require retirement housing, housing-with-care and care homes); students; people with disabilities; service families; travellers; people who rent their homes and people wishing to commission or build their own homes."

Unfortunately, and despite the NPPF requirement, the relative lack of progress on plan making nationally means that many local authorities often lack specific, defined policies for this category.

Navigating these policies can be time-consuming, particularly if you have to search multiple streams to access the data you need. By aggregating all relevant planning information into an easily accessible platform, LandInsight can save significant time - putting you ahead of the competition. 

You can also access updates on both ongoing and historical planning applications, link back to the Council’s website for associated documents and gain insight into the status of planning applications, including approvals, rejections and appeals.


Considering construction costs

Following an average annual rate of 2.3% during the 2010s, build cost inflation shot up during 2021 and 2022, peaking at 15.5% annual growth in June 2022. Although the forecast from the Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) is for a slowdown in inflation over the coming months, the benefits of the falling costs of materials are offset by continuing labour cost inflation.

After you’ve found the right site for your development, moving forward onto the next stage of planning requires careful consideration of the construction costs involved. As a part of the LandTech ecosystem, LandFund's appraisal tool makes it easy to benchmark your construction figures, giving you access to real-time data ensuring your appraisal is accurate and you don't miss out on any large costs. 

The LandFund team can assist in building your appraisal or your cash flows, and give you access to build cost data from across the industry and validate GDV figures, ensuring you’re able to build a strong appraisal for your project.

Overcoming the challenges

Despite the challenges outlined above, it’s clear that care homes offer a huge opportunity for those ready to invest. If you’d like to find out more about how LandInsight can help you solve these challenges and develop a scalable pipeline, check out our free 1-pager that walks you through how to practically find suitable sites in LandInsight. 


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