A SHIFT IN RETIREMENT LIVING INEVITABLE (6/10)

Written on the 8 March 2010

A SHIFT IN RETIREMENT LIVING INEVITABLE (6/10)

A GOLD Coast real estate agent has called for developers to dedicate 10 per cent of construction to retirement living, with a shift in focus towards high rise freehold arrangements.

Ray White Surfers Paradise head Andrew Bell (pictured), expects new high rises similar to the Victoria Towers project in Southport to be built within a few kilometres of the centre of town.

“It’s a new concept, a completely stratified, freehold apartment that you can buy or sell any way you want, just like any other apartment – there’s a medical centre downstairs and you pay if you use it,” says Bell.

“Just because you’re 70 or 80 it doesn’t mean you have to live like an old person, because you can still have vitality and enjoy life – when I retire I still want to go downstairs to a restaurant or go to the beach.

“Ten per cent of construction needs to be devoted to retirees. People will be able to stay alive a lot longer and even age better and I think that slowly there’s an awakening to that, but most developers are thinking 90 per cent is for the rest so I’ll build that 90 per cent.”

Bell predicts more developments in Southport due to its proximity to the hospital and the shopping district with a convenient location near the beach.

“What we’re going to see is better quality – I think that what’s been built for retirees in the past has been very basic but now the market will have better quality, better finishings,” he says.

“The consensus before was that most retirees are looking for something under $400,000 but I don’t think that’s the case any more and you could see projects around the $1 million mark. But I don’t see it in Surfers Paradise because the land is too expensive.”

A National Seniors Australia’s report Moving or Staying Put, found that the majority of seniors relocate after 55 and are increasingly looking for alternatives to the traditional retirement home.

National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre researcher Ellen Skladzien, says respondents indicated they wanted a home with services close by, but also large enough that they could have all the family over.

“One thing we did find surprising was that so many people do move later in life. Out of the people over 75, two thirds of them had moved between the ages of 55 and 75, so that’s quite a large chunk of them.

“One concern I think is that moving into retirement, people still want their own space where they can still pursue the sort of activities they did when they were younger.”

Skladzien says the results represent important trends that the property industry will need respond to, with baby boomers in particular expressing little interest in traditional forms of retirement villages.

“I think that it’s going to be important, especially in Queensland, with a large population over the age of 50, about 30 per cent in the last census, so it’s important to think about what they’re looking for. After all, they are going to be a significant part of the property market,” she says.


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