Australia’s ageing population has created a surge in demand for retirement living accommodation, with a focus on community, lifestyle, and wellness.
Australia’s population of 65 and overs it set to increase significantly from 16 per cent in 2020 to potentially 20 per cent by 2036 and 23 per cent by 2066.
Based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), in the year ending 30 June 2020, the population aged 65 years and over increased by 145,600 people (or 3.6 per cent).
This poses some important questions. Is there the right accommodation available to meet the wants and needs of these Australian’s when they retire? And are there enough options available?
As at the last census, in 2016, 6 per cent of 65 and overs lived in retirement accommodation. The proportion in Queensland (QLD) was 7.9 per cent, helped by strong migration of retirees from New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria (VIC).
Below we dive into some of the key trends in retirement living in 2021.
Sea change / tree change popular among retirees
Persons over 65 years old are more likely to live in a coastal or regional area than in a city, with 17.7 per cent favouring a tree/sea change in retirement. In comparison, only 13.7 per cent of over 65s live in metro areas.
Popular areas include the Gold Coast, Newcastle, Central Coast (NSW) and the Mornington Peninsula. The local government areas with highest proportion of over 65s are Queenscliff (VIC), Victor Harbor (SA) and the Yorke Peninsula (SA).
Retirement living options
There are several factors that are driving a change in retirement living options, aside from an increase in the number of retirees, and there are some interesting new developments in the works.
The traditional retirement villages are still popular and, as retirees are healthier and more active than in the past, the recreational activities on offer are more important than ever.
Most villages have a minimum age limit of 50 or 55, still young enough to live an active lifestyle, so villages are offering gym classes, yoga, swimming, golfing, and storage for your boat, if you fancy a sail.
At the last census, there were 170,000 independent living units in retirement villages, 74 per cent of which were in VIC, NSW, QLD.
Manufactured home estates
Over 55s manufactured home estates are a cheaper option for retirees who do not have the funds for luxury beachside villages with lots of onsite amenities.
Retirees buy the portable home and rent the land on the estate.
It is not uncommon for these sites to be on land that cannot get planning permission for other types of housing because it is on a flood plain or at risk from bush fire.
These sites can also lack amenities, unlike the retirement village model, and can be remote, making it hard for residents to get weekly shopping or have access to medical services.
A new retirement living trend is luxury inner city retirement complexes that offer vertical, high-density living, with integrated care facilities so residents can stay close to family and friends but receive aged care as their needs change.
These developments are marketed as independent living, serviced apartments, and residential aged care in the one location. An example of this development is the Newstead project in Brisbane’s gasworks district that has everything from a cinema, a salon and a men’s shed.
As demand increases, but available land diminishes, serviced apartments are being built to cater for those whose budget does not afford a house in a retirement village.
The apartment development in Aveo Taringa in Brisbane is being built in an existing Mediterranean resort-style retirement village and has access to all the amenities that the site has to offer.
Location of retirement properties in Australia
An analysis of retirement listings on realestate.com.au shows 58 per cent of retirement listings were in QLD and NSW in 2020 and 66 per cent of these listings were in metro areas.
The predominance of metro listings is not as high for all states with QLD, NSW and Tasmania (TAS) showing a more even split of listings in regional and metro areas.
In QLD and NSW, the top ABS Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4) areas are regional, with the Sunshine Coast (QLD) and Central Coast (NSW) top for retirement listings.
Most in-demand areas for retirement living
While QLD and NSW have the most listings, when it comes to the areas that receive the most interest from retirees, NSW, VIC and TAS are way ahead.
The Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, Hobart and Launceston are in high demand, not only because they are desirable locations, but also because there are fewer retirement listings in these areas.
If we drill down to the suburbs, beachside areas are the most in-demand, with a few outer metro areas that are near to green spaces, but still close enough to all city amenities.
Retirement options for every budget
It can be quite pricy to live in a retirement community, given the additional services and facilities that are included.
Although, according to the retirement census, properties in a retirement village can be up to 33 per cent cheaper than a house in the same postcode. In Sydney, 45 per cent cheaper.
In Sydney’s Elizabeth Bay, the median price for a retirement property in 2020 was $1.1 million; however, houses in that area can sell for more than $10 million.
Even with a smaller budget, retirees can get a reasonably priced property in a suburb near the beach or green space for less than $200,000, such as Avoca in Bundaberg or Murwillumbah, along the Tweed River.
The most-viewed new developments
In the past 12 months there have been more than 200 new developments for retirement living across the country listed on realestate.com.au, all with different styles of property and many different options in terms of shared activities and amenities.
Beachside villages, such as The Mornington Retirement Village (Mornington, VIC) and Bougainvillea – The Bay Club Resort (Neutral Bay, NSW) were top of the list. Although, villages closer to cities but with green spaces nearby were also popular, such as Applewood (Doncaster, VIC).
The future of retirement living
Australia’s over 65s are healthier and more active than past generations of retirees, and there are more of them than ever, which is driving demand for different options of retirement living.
Past retirement developments have focused on relaxing and easing into old age, with low impact activities such as bowling and aqua aerobics. The new trend in retirement living is more focused on maintaining a lifestyle that over 65s have been used to in their younger years and maintaining community and social networks.
Retirement living for life is also becoming more popular, with retirement developments offering different levels of care depending on your health and life stage. This gives retirees the option to remain independent while they can but know there is additional help available as time progresses.
Another trend is the super luxury retirement option, such as The Rose by Moran, which offers luxury independent living.
Amenities on offer include a heated indoor pool with spa, infra-red sauna, cinema, library, cellar, workshop and a bar and clubroom.
Luxury developments typically have prices starting at $2 million.
COVID-19 has highlighted concerns about the risk of catching and spreading viruses in retirement living facilities. Key factors include age and existing health conditions of the residents, as well as the communal nature of the facilities, activities, meals, transportation, and socialising.
Searches for properties with granny flats, or dual living facilities, increased by 28 per cent year-on-year, suggesting that many Australians might be thinking about living with their parents as they age, rather than going into a retirement complex.
As the 65+ demographic increases, there is a pressing need for more retirement options, ranging from the super luxury, with numerous amenities and health care options, to the Manufactured Home Estates without additional medical facilities and services.
The next generations of retirees are going to be fitter and healthier than those before them, so facilities, activities and convenient locations close to family and friends will be key.
This Article Was Written By Karen Dellow – RealEstate.com.au Insights – Featured 5 March 2021
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