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LNT Care Developments and McCarthy Stone retain top spot in Carterwood Market Movers

Carterwood – sector-specialist analysts to the elderly care home and retirement living sectors – announce their annual ranking of the most active developers in the UK planning system.

As ever, the elderly care home market in Great Britain demonstrates strong fundamentals: we have a rapidly growing elderly population and a significant shortfall in fit for purpose, futureproofed accommodation.

These underlying strengths will undoubtedly help the sector to weather the current stresses and strains it is experiencing: occupancy has only just recovered to pre-pandemic levels in Q1 2023; severe staffing issues persist; and inflationary cost pressures have made trading conditions extremely challenging over the last year.

The purpose of Carterwood’s Market Movers research is to shine a spotlight on those who have invested time, energy, and capital into development plans that will drive the sector forward and help to futureproof it against the evolving needs of the UK’s elderly population, and the environmental, sustainability and governance requirements of funders.

Despite overall planning activity seeing a decline between 2021 and 2022, Carterwood’s top Market Movers have made a substantial contribution to redress the pressing supply and demand imbalance in the elderly care home and retirement living sectors with their new planned developments.

In the elderly care home sector, LNT Care Developments topped the leaderboard for a second year, with applications for 1,842 beds – representing 8% of all planning activity assessed in 2022, with Frontier Estates and Barchester Healthcare completing the top 3.

Matt Lowe, LNT Care Developments chief executive, said:

“We are delighted to be recognised by Carterwood’s Market Mover research for our efforts throughout 2022. The elderly population continues to grow and we really do believe that ‘what we do matters’, which is why we remain ambitious for further growth and more land purchases, enabling us to build even more great places to live.”

In the retirement living sector, McCarthy Stone have achieved first place for the third year running, with applications totalling 2,477 units – representing 14.5% of all planning activity assessed in 2022 and a 13% increase on planning activity from 2021. Churchill Retirement Living and Inspired Villages have secured second and third places, with applications for 2,207 beds collectively.

John Tonkiss, chief executive at top Market Mover McCarthy Stone, commented on their growth plans for the future:

“We’re delighted to be recognised once again as Carterwood’s top Market Mover in the retirement living sector. We remain focused on increasing the supply of affordable, purpose-built specialist housing with care and support for the UK’s ageing population as it is proven to improve the health and wellbeing of its residents. We would like to grow supply further but unfortunately we continue to experience major challenges in the planning system. Councils are not resourced properly, delays of up to a year or more to reach a decision are commonplace, and their awareness of the housing needs of older people is critically low. We are calling for ministers to urgently address this issue. The government’s new older people’s housing taskforce is the perfect opportunity to look at what can be done.”

Carterwood managing director Tom Hartley praised the teams that are driving the growth of these crucial sectors through increased development:

“On behalf of Carterwood, I would like to congratulate all our Market Movers 2023 on their contribution to growing the much-needed supply within elderly care home and retirement living sectors. Here at Carterwood, we understand exactly how complex acquiring land and achieving planning permission can be and our expert team are proud to have supported so many Market Movers over the years.

Each year brings fresh adversity to a sector already facing multiple challenges, but the steadfast commitment of these Market Movers to overcome barriers and persevere with growth plans is truly something to be celebrated. In just a few years (by 2026), we predict a shortfall of market standard elderly care home beds of nearly 277,000, alongside an estimated population of those aged 75+ nearing 7 million and it’s vital that there is a choice of fit-for-purpose accommodation for both those with care needs and those who can live more actively and independently. The imbalance between demand and supply continues to be one of the most pressing issues of the sector, but one that I have every faith our Market Movers will be dedicated to redressing, and we look forward to supporting them as they do so.”

Carterwood is a multi-award-winning consultancy and software-provider dedicated to social care market analysis. They help improve the decision-making of developers, operators, and investors in the elderly care home and retirement living sectors with sector-specialist advice, a commitment to innovation and market-leading data.

Carterwood acts for 95% of the top 20 care home group operators and 80% of the top 10 retirement living operators in the UK, and its commercially-focused team is one of the largest dedicated to health & social care.

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