Sir George told a Hertfordshire CC conference on affordable housing and care in the community: 'The study finds that there is approximately 16% more subsidised housing provision for elderly people than was previously thought to exist.
'It suggests that there is currently over-provision of ordinary sheltered housing but under provision of very sheltered housing.
'The findings indicate a need to think carefully about the future provision and the possibilities for upgrading existing stock to cater for frailer elderly people.'
'This raises questions about the best use of this costly resource and whether these people might be more suitably housed in smaller, non specially-designed accommodation.
Sir George said he hoped to publish the full results of the research study in a few months time.
He also told the conference the existing arrangements for paying special needs management allowance for housing associations are to be extended for another year.
SNMA is currently paid by the Housing Corporation towards the costs incurred by housing associations in managing accommodation for a variety of people with special needs.
He said: 'I will shortly be setting out my proposals for the funding of special needs schemes in the longer term. To avoid disruption to the funding of these schemes while these proposals are being developed in consultation with representative bodies, I have asked the Housing Corporation to maintain the current arrangements for paying SNMA for a further year.'