Downsizing: retirement living is changing

Community gardens are among the growing range of services offered in retirement villages.
Community gardens are among the growing range of services offered in retirement villages.

The Australian retirement living sector is trending towards a greater proportion of vertical communities and offering a wider variety of services to residents according to research by the Property Council of Australia.

Its annual PwC/Property Council Retirement Census for 2018 showed nearly 30 per cent of new retirement communities under development had vertical village components, compared to 15 per cent of existing developments, as baby boomer retirees showed more of a preference for apartment living.

Other key findings showed:

– Entry into a retirement village remained affordable, at an average of 64 per cent of the price of the median two-bedroom house price across Australia ( 67 per cent in Perth);

– 97 per cent of new developments have at least five facilities or services available for residents, including health services, emergency call systems, social programs, cafes and community centres;

– The average age of a retirement-living resident has increased to 81, while the average national age of entry remains 75 (74 in WA) – only 2 per cent of current residents are now aged under 70;

– 62 per cent of residents are women;

– 61 per cent of independent living units are occupied by a single resident; and

– Village occupancy remains strong at an average of 89 per cent nationally.

Executive director – retirement Ben Myers said the Census showed how the industry was responding to changing resident needs, with the trend towards a fuller service offering that went well beyond housing.

“Modern retirees are seeking a more holistic solution, including easy access to health services on site and a range of recreational options,” he said.

Recreational options on offer included a community garden, cafe, pool, men’s shed, craft room and gym.

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