Significant deficit in elderly care beds in Wales, according to Christie & Co report

  • 14th May 2024


Care home closures and a rapidly-ageing population have led to a shortfall in bed numbers for the elderly in Wales, according to a report from specialist business property adviser, Christie & Co.

Its Wales Healthcare Market Insight 2024 report, released this week,  analyses the elderly care home market across Wales and highlights the growing need for new build, futureproofed care homes throughout the country.

Market overview

Between 2020-2023, 40 elderly care homes in Wales closed and only four opened, says the report.

And, as of March 2024, there are 594 elderly care homes across Wales with an average capacity for 37 residents each.

They comprise a total of 21,820 care beds, 60% of which have en-suite provision, 25% have wetroom provision, and just 22% have dedicated dementia provision, according to Christie & Co’s benchmarking data.

These homes are primarily located in urban areas of higher population density, such as Cardiff, Swansea, and Wrexham, and there remains a significant shortfall of such beds in many rural areas where poor transport links and staffing challenges prohibit development.

The average home in Wales has an occupancy rate of 92%, a rise from 90% in 2022/23, and 89% in England. 

Supply and demand

Between 2020-2024, 604 Effective Market Capacity/future-proof (EMC) beds were developed in Wales, either through new registrations or the refurbishment of existing facilities – an increase of just 5% in four years.

Comparatively, the demand rose by 20%, meaning that, as of 2024, the overall demand for beds in Wales is circa 21,155 while there are only circa 12,501 EMC beds in supply – just 595% of the required demand.

And, according to the report, 74% of local authorities in Wales require EMC beds, yet only 26% currently have sufficient levels of supply, which further demonstrates the necessity of such provision. 

The future

Christie & Co forecasts that, by 2034, there will be a total undersupply of 1,672 EMC beds in North Wales and 7,423 EMC beds in South Wales in the next 10 years.

Rob Kinsman, regional director for care at Christie & Co; and Will Edwards, healthcare development and investment lead said of the report: “The figures in our report speak for themselves. There is a severe need for EMC beds in Wales and this demand is growing rapidly as people live longer and we see a rise in the closure of homes that are no longer fit for purpose.

“Wales is behind the curve with England and Scotland in terms of new futureproofed care bed provision coming forward.

“It is clear there is a significant opportunity for specialist developers, operators, funders, and private individuals to benefit from early mover advantage into the Welsh market.

“Christie & Co deal activity for care and retirement development sites is starting to increase in the country, with two completions in the first half of this year and we look forward to working with market participants in facilitating futureproof bed supply to serve the growing need of the elderly population.”

To read the full report, visit

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