More senior housing needed

Study highlights need for new and more sustainable healthcare real estate

1 in 3 new homes should be suitable for senior occupants. This is one of the findings from a study on the future of healthcare real estate in the Netherlands conducted by CBRE Netherlands, which is part of the listed company CBRE Group, the world’s largest real estate consultancy. 

Between now and 2050, 1.3 million additional homes will be needed to house the Netherlands’ growing population. Public debate about the housing market often centres around first-time buyers and families, and their ability to find housing. But the key to avoiding a gridlock in the housing market lies with the elderly, as the future generation of seniors mainly live in owner-occupied houses. If the care demand of the elderly population develops as expected, 433,000 (33%) of the new homes required by 2050 should be intended for this demographic.

To ensure a long-term balance between the housing stock and population composition, only high-quality housing (including residential care homes) should be built in certain regions, such as South Limburg, Friesland and Drenthe. In other areas, the situation is completely different. In the Haaglanden region, for instance, only 11% of new homes should go to seniors.

A limiting factor for mobility in the housing market is the relatively low quality of existing senior housing. Building life-proof houses that match the needs and quality requirements of this demographic would free up the homes they currently live in, leading to more mobility. The fact that the new generation of seniors is considerably wealthier than the current cohort also creates possibilities here. In addition, more clustered housing is needed, where care organisations can efficiently provide high-quality 24-hour care.

Laura Seckel, Head of Healthcare at CBRE Netherlands: “Because we have mapped all of the Netherlands at the national, regional and local levels with healthcare and real estate data, we can show exactly what the current healthcare real estate situation is. But we can also show what’s needed in terms of expanding and improving the current stock, what the options are for different locations and how long it would take to pursue them.”


Urgent task

Besides increasing the number of residential care homes in the Netherlands, an equally urgent task is to make the existing built environment more sustainable. The sustainability scores of nursing and care homes are still trailing far behind those of social housing, offices and logistics real estate. Meanwhile, the need for more sustainable real estate has become a lot more pressing lately, as the cost of energy is set to double compared to 2019. Many nursing and care homes are likely to start reporting negative figures soon, possibly to the detriment of their core mission: providing care. Healthcare operators could look to investors for relief, as the latter could provide the funding needed to make healthcare real estate more sustainable. Investors could also help by responding to the growing demand for high-end senior housing.

By investing in sustainability, we reduce energy costs for healthcare organisations, create healthier environments that benefit the health and wellbeing not just of residents but also of healthcare staff, and work towards the future-proof healthcare sector we need.

Laura Seckel

About CBRE Group, Inc. 
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBRE), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Dallas, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2021 revenue). The company has more than 105,000 employees (excluding Turner & Townsend employees) serving clients in more than 100 countries. CBRE serves a diverse range of clients with an integrated suite of services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at