Retirement villages approaching capacity

A new report shows Australia’s retirement villages are almost full, highlighting a need for more age-appropriate housing for seniors in their local communities.

The results of the annual PwC/Property Council Retirement Census show increasing numbers of older Australians are living in retirement villages, taking advantage of hotel-style services, visiting health professionals and cash left over from the sale of their family home.

The Property Council of Australia’s Ben Myers said retirement villages across the nation were almost at their practical capacity of 93 percent occupancy in 2016 and the number of people aged 65 and over was set to grow by five million in the next 40 years.

This meant state governments needed to take urgent action to encourage the development of new retirement villages, particularly in major cities where demand was greatest, he said.

“Nearly 200,000 senior Australians have made the informed choice of retirement village living, and this number is set to grow sharply in the coming decade,” Mr Myers said.

“It is clear however that without significant improvements in state planning policy, many seniors won’t be able to access these benefits in coming years – we are facing an imminent capacity crisis.

“Many existing homes just aren’t suitable for seniors to ‘age in place’; often they are older, contain trip hazards and are difficult to maintain.”

Mr Myers said the Property Council was researching planning barriers to new villages and warned that a   lack of supply would push prices up.

The report found retirement villages were often more affordable than the residential market, with the average independent living unit costing 69 percent of the median house price in the same postcode.

The national average entry price for a two-bedroom unit was $424,000, the report found.

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