Research shows that occupancy levels in Scottish care homes remain resilient, in contrast to other parts of the UK. With everyone entitled to free personal care, residents are at least partly funded by the Scottish Government, helping sustain the sector.
"South of the border there is no free personal care and a number of local authorities are considering freezing the fee rates,"
said Gary Walton, who specialises in this field.
"Fees are set to rise by 2% here in the coming financial year and, coupled with good demand and opportunities, Scotland seems to be an attractive place to operate at present."
While there is an appetite for purpose-built homes, lack of newbuild during the boom years means there is a shortage. Walton says while new development is an option, there is limited funding for large-scale projects, and there can be problems with initial cash flow as 60 to 90 bed homes take about 18 months to reach mature trading.
"Operators' decision-making is also being blighted by the large number of consents being granted," he said. There have been a number of sites in Dunfermline identified for care home use due to high demand in the area, but many operators are steering clear due to the risk of excessive competition."
The newest purpose-built home to open is at Drumasgard in South Lanarkshire, where Flemington Care closed down their 18-bed facility and replaced it with a 70-bed state-of-the-art building, pictured.