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UK healthcare property market primed for investment in Senior Living


Colliers launches latest report European Healthcare report which focusses on eight growth markets 

A dearth of senior housing stock in the UK, an active ageing population and measurable investor interest means that the sector is a prime opportunity for growth over the next decade, says Colliers’ European Healthcare – A Growth Market report.

Colliers UK healthcare team report that only 0.6 per cent of total UK housing stock is aimed at the over-65s, which currently represents 14 per cent of the overall population. Colliers’ recent Global Investor Survey found that 21 per cent of respondents expressed an interest in investing into senior living assets in 2021, and with number of over-65s set to grow to almost 18 million people by 2035, to 18 per cent of the population, there are many opportunities to be secured. 

A growth market
Max Broadbent, director in the Healthcare team at Colliers UK, said: “With the UK’s ageing population there will be continued growth in alternative elderly care and housing model demands, such as retirement villages, assisted living and extra care facilities. Currently the proportion housing stock for senior living with care in the UK is at 0.6 per cent, whereas the likes of Australia and the US have five per cent, so there’s definitely room for further investment.

“Last year we saw significant investment in care homes and the acute sector, but there is a gap in the market for investors to target the active and mobile older population, who want to live in a property and location that is appropriate for their stage in life, where they’re still independent and able to socialise, but are in a safe environment that will ensure they’re able to stay active for longer.”

The senior living investment market
The European Healthcare – A Growth Market report examines eight key European markets it found that during 2020 and into Q1 2021 the nursing and care home component of European investment volumes superseded the trading of senior living assets for the first time in five years. So far in 2021 investment volumes into the sector have expanded from a five-year average of 2.3 per cent to 3.8 per cent. Although volumes of around €7 billion per year are small in comparison to other sectors, the opaque and nascent nature of healthcare as a real estate investment class means the reporting of transaction volumes is undoubtedly lower than what is happening on the ground. 

Author of the report Damian Harrington, Director, Head of EMEA Research added: “We know the investment community continues to branch out into a range of niche and alternative asset types in the search for product and income. The proven long-term positive risk-reward balance of the senior living and healthcare sector in more mature markets such as the UK, alongside the significant growth in demand for assets and care services created by an aging population is attracting greater diversity of capital to this sector. The expansion of the 65+ population to 18 per cent of our population by 2035 is multiplied by high levels of wealth, creating demand for more senior living options.” 

Healthcare diversification: hospital/care beds supply vs. demand imbalance
Although investment demand for primary and secondary healthcare facilities is lower at eight per cent and two per cent according to our survey, the sector also benefits from strong growth drivers. In the UK there has been a declining level of national provision of hospital beds and nursing care over the last decade. Consumer spending growth on private healthcare and private healthcare insurance will continue to drive underlying demand for a broader range of healthcare assets, as the expansion of NHS provision is set to remain muted. This will create additional investment options for investors, albeit of a more complex and niche nature.     

Max added: “The pandemic highlighted the shortage of acute care beds in the hospital sector. With the government likely to continue to drive down investment in NHS hospitals, albeit 40 new ones have been promised, private hospitals will need to play a pivotal role to meet healthcare demands creating further more complex, but low risk opportunities.”

Related Experts

Max Broadbent



London - West End

Having completed a Master's degree at the London School of Economics Max started work in the commercial property sector and for most of his career has specialised in the Healthcare sector, working first for Inventures, a consultancy division of the UK Department of Health and since 2004 for Colliers International. Max become a Director in 2007. Max is involved in providing strategic advise to healthcare operator's in terms of their growth strategies; reviewing and advising on healthcare developments; carrying out valuations and due diligence or trading healthcare and education properties; carrying out structured fundraising plans; and providing transactional advisory advise to healthcare clients.

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Damian Harrington

Head of Research

Global Capital Markets & EMEA

London - West End

Damian Harrington is a Director and Head of Research for both Global Capital Markets and EMEA at Colliers. He has over 20 years of experience in the real estate industry living and working from various locations across EMEA including London, Dubai, Prague, Helsinki and Amsterdam. Damian is responsible for producing research for internal and external clients. His expertise helps to provide clients with global capital market trends and analysis, and connects them with strategic and actionable insights, such as the changing nature of global capital and the impact on global capital flows. Damian has produced numerous research papers and generated analysis of markets across all asset types - from residential to offices, retail to logistics and hotels to niche sectors such as life sciences, air cargo and data centres. Damian is a member of the EMEA location strategy team and a key member of Colliers ESG focus group.  He speaks regularly at internal global conferences, external industry events hosted by GRI, ULI and other key industry bodies, plus key annual events such as MIPIM and EXPO REAL.

Damian holds a Masters degree in European Property Development and Planning from University College London, a BPI Bachelor of Planning from the University of Amsterdam and a BA (Hons) in Town and Country Planning from Manchester University. He is also a qualified surveyor, holding an MRICS with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

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Kim Inam

PR Manager

Marketing & Communications

London - West End

I'm a communications professional who has previously worked as a journalist for eight years covering a broad range of topics including politics, crime, health and housing in north London. In recent years I have worked in corporate communications for local authorities across London  and joined Colliers in October 2019, initially providing maternity leave cover.

I provide strategic public relations advice to various business lines within the UK organisation to secure recognition for their work in the property press as well as key target media, and work with our experts to produce thought leadership pieces which are of interest to our clients and colleagues within the commercial real estate sector. In addition, alongside colleagues in the PR and wider communications team, I provide media and social media training for our in-house experts to prepare them for media opportunities and raise their personal brand within the sector.

As well as supporting various teams within the UK business, I also I curate and edit regular content for the blog, which drives credible business leads to our experts.


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