New data from the annual PwC/Property Council Retirement Census for 2018 (representing more than 68,000 units) confirms that the Australian retirement living sector is trending towards a greater proportion of vertical communities as baby boomer retirees show a preference for apartment living.
Of all new retirement communities under development 30% have vertical village components, compared to 15% of existing developments and 97% 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 as today’s retirees seek a more holistic solution.
Other key findings show the average age of entry into a retirement village remains at 75 years whilst the average age of a retirement village resident has risen to 81 with only 2% of current residents aged under 70.
Entry into a retirement village remains affordable at an average of 64% of the price of the median 2-bedroom house price across Australia (44% in Sydney and 55% in Melbourne).
Tony Massaro, PwC Real Estate Advisory Partner and specialist in the retirement living sector, says the 2018 Census reflects that the increase in vertical villages and the broader range of facilities and fee structures reflects an industry that is becoming more sophisticated. Whilst Village occupancy remains strong at 89% nationally it is slightly down on previous years reflecting a broader real estate trend as the residential market cools.
Ben Myers, Executive Director – Retirement Living at the Property Council of Australia, says the Census shows the industry is responding to changing resident needs with a strong pipeline of units coming onto the market over the next 4 years. He adds however that the data highlights the challenges such as access to land and planning approvals to supply housing for a rapidly increasing cohort of older Australians.