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‘Not only a priority but a necessity’: City needs to get building new homes to meet future housing need, says planning specialist

MILTON KEYNES needs to build more than 32,700 new homes in less than two decades to meet the needs of the city’s 2040 population, research by socio-economic experts at a city-based planning consultancy has revealed.

Its population is predicted to remain relatively static, with almost 228,500 adults forecast to be living in the city by 2040. However, this includes a 43% increase in the number of those aged 66 or over, bringing the total for this demographic to 58,717.

By 2040 there will be 71,908 first-time buyers (aged 25-44), and 12,102 of student age (18-22).

The research by planning consultancy Marrons highlights the pressing need to accommodate the city’s demographic growth, especially regarding its ageing population. It also identifies that more than 13,000 people aged 66-plus are living in homes that are larger than necessary with two or more bedrooms unoccupied.

If this trend continues, more than 21,500 such households are expected to be under-occupied by 2040. The Marrons research says that Milton Keynes is set for the eighth largest increase in the over-66 population among all the local authorities across England.

Dan Usher, economics director at Marrons, specialises in housing need evidence. “The city has a unique challenge ahead – how should it manage its housing to mix to ensure that the later living population has suitable accommodation, alongside other demographics?

“Building a range of homes to suit many different needs is not only a priority but a necessity.”

Dan Usher (left) and Simon Macklen, of Marrons planning consultancy.

More homes will create more choice, help first-time buyers on to the property ladder and give expanding families additional space,” he added. A wider choice of property will also help the older population to downsize to a home more suitable for their needs and will add to the supply of affordable housing.

Despite being home to three universities, Milton Keynes’ student-age population is forecast to fall by 11% by 2040. Its social housing stock is estimated to have plummeted by 2,718.

Simon Macklen, partner and head of economics at Marrons, said the need for more homes to house a growing population was significant. “England is poised for significant demographic change over the next two decades, bringing forth new challenges and opportunities in the housing sector.

“Already, England has been named as the most difficult place to find a home in the developed world and our ageing population and rising property prices will only exacerbate the problem. If we are going to meet the requirements of the population in 2040, we need to prioritise future residents and start building the right homes today.”

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