RetireAustralia primed to deliver 1100 new dwellings amid new housing crisis

As Australia stares down the barrel of a new housing crisis due to a rapidly ageing population, retirement village operator, RetireAustralia, is ramping up its offering and leading the way in providing innovative solutions to cater for older Australians.

RetireAustralia CEO and Retirement Living Council vice president, Dr Brett Robinson, said while the demographic and housing outlook looked grim with villages effectively full and the development pipeline slowing, RetireAustralia was staying ahead of the curve with a strong pipeline of new developments and a growing portfolio of newly completed villages, including The Green at Tarragindi, which officially opened last week.

“In the past year RetireAustralia has delivered 214 new dwellings, and is set to deliver just under 1100 in the space of five years,” he said.

“The Green, located eight kilometres from Brisbane’s CBD, is an exemplar in the field of evidence-based home and community design principles, which takes all aspects of sustainability and ageing into account.”

A new national Retirement Living Council report, released days after the opening of The Green, has outlined the value of retirement villages to Australians.

According to the Better Housing for Better Health report, those living in retirement villages across the country are helping taxpayers save nearly $1 billion in health care costs by delaying their entry into aged care.

The report also showed residents living in retirement villages are 41 per cent happier, five times more socially active and 15 per cent more physically active.

The Green, an $80 million vertical retirement village which includes 92 independent living apartments, also features an array of amenities, including access to Australia’s newest, championship-quality bowling green.

“Like all our villages, The Green is designed to offer choice, support, social connection and peace of mind,” Dr Robinson said.

Evolving from a property-focused sector in years gone by to one that now focuses on health, wellbeing and care, Dr Robinson said the retirement living sector was at a pivotal juncture.

“More older Australians are choosing to live in a retirement community rather than an aged care facility,” he said.

“It is critical that governments understand this as they plan for the significant increase of older Australians and aim to keep the aged care sector operational.

“At RetireAustralia, we are taking an innovative approach by providing a continuum of care model that allows seniors to age in place.

“At The Green, for example, we have a care concierge and for select future communities we will be introducing care hubs – specifically designed for higher acuity care.”

The Federal Government’s Intergenerational Report 2023 states 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.

While the 2022 PwC/Property Council Retirement Census found retirement villages were effectively at capacity nationwide with a supply pipeline of new stock slowing down.

According to the census, 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.

Increasing the development supply pipeline will not only help meet growing demand for accommodation options for older Australians but will also help address the nation’s housing crisis.

The Better Housing for Better Health report showed while the current pipeline of retirement communities will reduce Australia’s housing shortage by 18 per cent, growing the pipeline to meet current demand levels could ease this deficit by 67 per cent.

“Retirement living plays an important role in housing Australia’s growing ageing population, particularly as the nation battles an ongoing housing crisis,” Dr Robinson stressed.

Retirement communities are designed to provide an affordable option for older Australians, with the Intergenerational Report 2023 stating entry prices on average are 48 per cent lower than median house prices in similar areas.

“The focus for the sector needs to be on injecting supply into the market to meet growing demand but legislative reforms and other factors like high construction costs are making it harder for operators to build and operate age-friendly communities,” Dr Robinson said.

“Governments across the country need to realise if more seniors are living in age-friendly communities there is significant economic upside for them through reduced interaction with the health system and delayed entry to aged care, while more houses become available in the traditional real estate market.

“We are asking for a leg-up and if they create investment and development environments that facilitate more supply, the sector is ready and waiting to do it.”

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With 29 unique locations across three states, RetireAustralia's communities cater to a range of needs and preferences.