Retirement villages could boost housing for older Australians

Retirement villages are a significantly cheaper housing option for older Australians and they could also help free up homes for younger generations, according to the industry.

The 2023 PwC-Property Council Retirement Census reveals the cost of a two-bedroom unit in a retirement village is on average 43 per cent cheaper than homes in the same postcode across the country.

The average cost for a unit in a retirement village is $559,000 compared to the $986,000 median house price in the same postcodes.

The Retirement Living Council (RLC) said the data shows the important role retirement villages play in providing affordable housing for older Australians.

RLC Executive Director, Daniel Gannon, said retirement villages were an affordable housing solution available to older Australians in an otherwise unaffordable housing market.

“But these retirement communities aren’t just helping older Australians with housing options – they’re helping younger homebuyers too,” Mr Gannon said.

“When an older person or couple makes the decision to ‘rightsize’ into a home that is better suited to their ageing needs, they’re injecting a bigger home back into the market for younger Australians.”

According to the RLC, retirement villages are effectively operating at full capacity, with five per cent vacancy.

“Given the number of Australians aged over 75 will increase from two million to 3.4 million by 2040, a tight vacancy rate is concerning news for consumers and governments alike,” Mr Gannon said.

“This means governments need to get their skates on and actually start planning for ageing populations – starting with age-friendly housing.”

The RLC also found that residents of retirement communities hold operators in very high regard with a national net promoter score of +44.

Aveo Chief Executive Officer, Tony Randello, said this confirmed that in the midst of a housing crisis, retirement living communities continud to serve as an affordable housing option where older Australians could thrive.

“With current supply already at capacity, planning reforms are essential for us as operators to provide more contemporary, age-appropriate, and affordable housing across the country,” Mr Randello said. 

PwC Australia Partner, Meredith Chester, said as our population aged, the demand for high-quality, accessible retirement living options had never been more critical.

“The sector is facing a unique set of challenges and opportunities that it must confront head-on,” Ms Chester said.

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