Birchgrove communities reach full occupancy as rental-in-retirement demand soars 

Leading retirement BTR developer’s Sidcup and Woking communities now operating Ready Lists 

Birchgrove, the UK’s leading provider of rented retirement homes, has announced that two of its three communities are now at full occupancy and operating Ready Lists as demand for rented retirement homes continues to soar, far outstripping supply. 

Queensgate Apartments in Sidcup, which comprises of 74 one, two and three bed apartments, is now at over 98% occupancy, while Woodbank Apartments in Woking, which comprises of 51 one and two bed units, is at 96% occupancy. The occupancy rates represent a significant landmark for operator Birchgrove following M&G’s £69m acquisition of the two sites in January 2022. 

As a result of the full occupancy, both sites are now operating a Ready List – a waiting list of retirees looking to rent a unit once they become available, having already registered interest and undertaken a financial assessment.  

The Ready Lists represent another important milestone for Birchgrove, given older people renting in retirement was largely unheard of in the mid-market sector until Birchgrove introduced the model to the UK in 2017. Many of those on the Ready Lists have lived in Woking and Sidcup their whole life, and are looking to downsize from their family home into rental assisted living accommodation that is more flexible and better suited to their needs. 

According to the English Housing Survey, the number of pensioners in rented accommodation is set to double to over 1m in the next decade. With demand for rented retirement accommodation already far outstripping supply, Birchgrove has invested in a further six sites across the South-East – with three communities under construction and now available for rental off-plan, and a further three London sites acquired. 

Honor Barratt, Chief Executive, Birchgrove said: 

“Every day in 2024, 1,000 people in the UK will turn 80. In ten years’ time, Birchgrove will have built 1,000 units – so enough for one days increase in need, or 0.1% of the more than one million retirees predicted to want to rent by then. 

“We’re delighted to have demonstrated that the mid-market rental model works. We’re thrilled to have acquired nine sites in six years. And we’re proud to be changing older people’s lives for the better, by helping them to live more flexibly. But with two of our three operating communities already at full occupancy, the sector requires far greater investment, development and ambition to meet this surging demand.”   

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