Couple seizes rare opportunity as retirement accommodation shortage hits hard across Australia

Home is where the heart is but with retirement dwellings in short supply, many Aussie seniors have no choice but to leave the suburbs where they raised their families.

Statistics show retirement villages are effectively at capacity nationwide, while the supply pipeline of new stock is slowing down.

This means opportunities to age well locally can be hard to come by. It’s something that’s not lost on Jeff and Judy Jones. After spending more than half their lives in Tarragindi, Jeff and Judy, both aged 75, were excited to realise their retirement dream of remaining in their beloved community as they became the first residents to move into The Green, a new $80 million vertical village in the Brisbane suburb.

“Moving into a retirement village is a big enough change without having to move to a new area,” Judy said.

Having called Tarragindi home since 1983, the Jonses didn’t want to entertain leaving the leafy Brisbane suburb. They raised their sons, Craig and Matt, in the area and have enjoyed having their six grandchildren nearby in Tarragindi and Salisbury.

Jeff Jones Real Estate, the business the couple founded which is now run by their sons, is also a short drive away at Stones Corner.

On top of that, they love being close to known and trusted amenities and services.

Nationally, the number of Australians aged 65 and older will double in the next 40 years, while the number of people aged 85 and older is set to triple to more than 3.5 million people by 2062–63, according to the Federal Government’s Intergenerational Report 2023.

Despite the surging senior population, the 2022 PwC/Property Council Retirement Census found retirement villages were effectively at capacity. The census also found the development supply pipeline planned for the subsequent three years fell to 5,100 dwellings compared to the 2021 Retirement Census of more than 10,500 dwellings. Higher construction and debt costs, and an uncertain economic outlook may have contributed to this decreased supply.

With a short supply of retirement accommodation options in their immediate area, the Joneses were quick to jump on the chance to continue to call Tarragindi home, in accommodation that will continue to meet their needs even as their care and support requirements increase with age.

The Joneses – who were the first residents to move into The Green – say they are fortunate to have relocated to a retirement village so close to where they have been living for nearly four decades.

“We knew eventually we would need to make the move into some sort of retirement village, so when we heard about The Green, we were keen right from the get-go,” Judy said.

“While we don’t have any health issues or need help at this stage, we thought it would be better to make the move as we couldn’t see another village like it coming to Tarragindi any time soon.”

Jeff added: “We love the accessibility Tarragindi provides – we’ve got four hospitals right on our doorstep and easy access to the motorways and we’re close to the city.

“We had looked at other sites and places. We couldn’t get away from the fact this was at Tarragindi – that was obviously a big attraction, and we also thought The Green offered us more amenities than any of the other places we looked at. The design of the complex, the landscaping, the facilities – it just all fitted together so well.”

In the Brisbane Local Government Area (LGA), there was a shortfall of at least 3,600 retirement dwellings in 2023 and the disparity is only likely to increase, largely due to a lack of suitable land for all types of village development in Brisbane, according to an O’Hara Wells analysis for RetireAustralia.

At the same time, a Queensland Government Statistician’s Office (QGSO) analysis predicts that by 2031 there will be 107,253 people aged 75 and over in the Brisbane LGA, an increase of 33,178 people in comparison to 2021 figures. If this forecast proves to be accurate, not everyone will be as fortunate as the Joneses and able to continue to live and thrive in their local area for the final chapters of their lives.

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