McCarthy and Stone case study - featured on BBC

Bluestone Court in Street, a McCarthy and Stone development where owners have found it hard to sell their flats

Money Box on BBC Radio 4, 16 September 2017 featured the owner of a McCarthy and Stone flat in Bluestone Court in Street who has been unable to sell her flat for 3 years. She bought the flat for £166,000 in 2007 and lived there happily until 2011 when she had to go into a care home. She has tried to sell the flat through 3 separate estate agencies and the price is down to £105,000 now, but the flat remains unsold. At the time of the programme being broadcast 8 of the 42 flats in the development were for sale. The lady is still having to pay the service charge of £2,000 pa.


This is Burlington Court, a McCarthy and Stone development in Bridlington, Yorkshire where most of the flat owners have lost money when selling their flats, for example a flat bought for £166,000 was re-sold for £70,000, and another flat bought for £140,000 was re-sold for £58,000.

Who are McCarthy and Stone?

A collapsed crane cost McCarthy and Stone a £97,000 fine by the Health and Safety Executive

McCarthy and Stone's website says 'McCarthy & Stone is the UK’s leading retirement housebuilder of privately owned property. Over the past 39 years, we have built more than 50,000 apartments nationwide. All apartments are built to help you keep your independence. 

Our properties are built to the highest standard. In fact, we are the only UK housebuilder, of any size or type, to have been awarded a 5 star rating in customer satisfaction by our homeowners for the past eleven years, via the Home Builders Federation (HBF) survey.'

Their website explains their business model:

'Higher density than traditional housebuilding....Optimisation of development density through reduced on-site parking and amenity space requirements....High-quality product which captures a significant new build premium....Priced to attract older people wishing to downsize and release [the company] pursues efficient, repeatable build processes, reducing build costs by using standardised designs and build processes.'

Examples of other McCarthy and Stone planning applications which have been rejected (Gidea Park, Romford, decision 6/12/17) In April 2018, McCarthy and Stone confirmed that they decided not to pursue any further application on that site. (open associated documents and see decision notice 18/07/17) (Horsham, decision date 22/03/16) (Brighton, on same site in Old London Road, 26 November 2003) (Brighton on same site in Old London Road, 14 January 2005) 

McCarthy and Stone - some media coverage

'My flat was £161,950 in 2007 – now I'm offered just £28,000' 16 November 2019

McCarthy and Stone 'rip-off lease' 6 September 2019

Builder ‘trashed five retirement homes worth £4MILLION 13 August 2018 bungalows

Clive Fenton steps down as CEO of MCarthy and Stone as profits slump

McCarthy and Stone featured in BBC Money Box item about ground rents (23 June 2018):

McCarthy and Stone - you don't need ground rents

Pensioners hammered with 88% rise in ground rents...… Often in sites with dismal resale values:

ARCO snubs McCarthy and Stone / Churchill by saying there is no need for ground rents:

Housebuilders shares crash over ground rents, with McCarthy and Stone down 10%:

'Resale disaster zone': More on this story: most buyers sell McCarthy and Stone flats at a loss: 'Money Box' on BBC Radio 4, first broadcast on 9 September 2017. The programme visited a McCarthy and Stone development in Yorkshire where over half the flats have been sold at a loss compared to the purchase price, for example a flat bought for £166,000 was re-sold for £70,000, and another flat bought for £140,000 was re-sold for £58,000.. The item on McCarthy and Stone starts at 15 mins 40 seconds into the programme:

'Money Box' BBC Radio 4 16 September 2017, 'Retirement housing losses & care: Retirement home losses affecting ability to pay for care' The case study above is from this programme which goes into more detail about the impact on the flat owner's ability to fund her care home.

Money Box Live, BBC Radio 4 20 September 2017, 'Later Life Living'  One option for the elderly finding it difficult in their own home wcould be moving to a McCarthy and Stone development but there are many emotional and financial decisions to make. This programme  explores some of the advantages, disadvantages and costs of retirement living.

Ground rents essential to McCarthy and Stone business model:

-Criticism of McCarthy and Stone's ground rents: 'Our ground rents are fair, says McCarthy and Stone (even though they go up to £600 and are for no service whatsoever)' (

-Two issues of the magazine Private Eye in Spring 2016 (issue numbers 1418 and 1421) have reported on a controversy over another MaS application in Yorkshire where, as in Patcham, they want to demolish a perfectly good existing building. The magazine describes MaS’s actions as ‘arrogant…stupid...grossly lacking in imagination’. See where you can read about the 150 year old Victorian house.

-Local residents in Southsea are very angry about McCarthy and Stone's approach to an issue regarding a party wall:

-Channel 4's 'Dispatches' programme reported concerns about MCarthy and Stone exploiting vulnerable potential buyers of their apartments by offering to buy their existing homes from them at prices well below the market price:

-They were fined over £97,000 by the Health and Safety Executive due to two separate safety breaches involving cranes on one of their sites. Local residents had to be evacuated whilst the site was made safe. (If there was a similar incident in Patcham, this could lead to the closure of the special needs school across the road from the site and implications for the psychological well-being of the vulnerable pupils):

-Some residents have been disappointed with the price they obtained when they came to sell their MCarthy and Stone retirement flat:

-General article on difficulties of re-selling flats in retirement villages:

-'Almost always sold at a loss' Help to Buy? What downsizers really need is Help to Sell