If you need a mobility bathroom, finding a new home that is already equipped with one can be a thankless task – and one that might get harder.
Despite an ageing population with a growing number of people who have life-limiting disabilities, most new homes are not being built with such specifications in mind. For this reason, being able to call on the disabled bathroom design skills of those who can retrofit a home for this purpose is likely to be increasingly important.
Part of the reason for this is the number of homes being built overall is still below targets.
Rishi Sunak was grilled on this issue in Prime Minister’s Questions on March 1st, with leader of the opposition Keir Starmer accusing him of being too weak to stand up to backbenchers over planning law changes and thus unable to meet the government’s pledge to build 300,000 homes a year in England by the middle of this decade.
However, a lack of new homes is not just a problem for the present ministry and stretches back many years to governments of different political complexions over many years.
Moreover, the current situation could be made worse by a downturn in the housing market, reducing buyer demand. House building firm Persimmon Homes highlighted this issue in its latest results, stating that completions will almost halve this year to 8,500 from 15,000 last year. Similarly, Taylor Wimpey said its completions are set to fall by a third.
With the latest Nationwide figures showing that house prices are now lower than a year ago, this decline in the market is real and builders are clearly responding. While the situation will only last months rather than years and construction will start growing again, it will still slow down progress on plugging the shortfall in housing need.
All that will squeeze the supply of any kind of homes, including those built with mobility issues in mind. That is why retrofitting may become increasingly in demand over the months and years to come.