He is encouraged by signs of demand as the company starts building sites and visions again, with customers in the negotiation book wanting to proceed quickly. “In some respects, the pandemic has amplified their desire to go up and enter one of our retirement communities,” he says.
The crisis could end up helping McCarthy in the longer term in his mission to get customers out of the growing aging population in the UK: a 43% increase in children over the age of 65 to 17.4 million within 2043, provides for the Office for National Statistics.
The country has yet to embrace retirement communities in the same way as some parts of the United States and Australia, with retirees more likely to stay in their homes unless they need high levels of support in a nursing home. . Tonkiss, 52, is determined to convince more of the British public of the merits of a “third way” between the two, as offered by his developments, where homes sell for an average of £ 308,000.
The FTSE 250 company has built 58,000 retirement properties since the early 1970s. “Independent living with handy support is truly unique and special,” he says. “We help tackle many of the loneliness issues, bring communities together and help friends and family know that their mothers and fathers are being followed.”
With his confident tone, blue eyes and easy way, the father of three is well suited to convincing people to entrust him with the last few years and retirement money. A training engineer, he spent his early professional years in the automotive sector in the Western Midlands. His interest in housing grew when he joined the student housing giant Unite Group in the early Noughties after seeing a job announcement.
He joined McCarthy in early 2014 and was promoted to CEO in September 2018. It was a few difficult years for the company between Brexit’s uncertainty and a slowdown in the secondary real estate market. Profits were down 25% to £ 43.4 million during 2019. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, stocks had fallen below the fluctuating levels of 2015. They closed at 72.2p on Friday, evaluating the company to £ 388 million.