Calls to Fix Retirement Living Shortfalls


More needs to be done to address Australia’s shortage of retirement living options as demand surges for communal living in the wake of Covid-19, according to an industry specific report.

The PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Property Council Retirement Census report from 2020 showed retirement villages were at 87 per cent capacity last year, while planned development rates had dropped from a pipeline of 5000 units in 2019 to 3200 units in 2020.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers partner for real estate advisory Tony Massaro, who will be speaking next week at The Urban Developer’s Aged Care and Retirement Living vSummit, said the recent spike in demand meant the country could face a significant shortfall in accommodation in the medium term.

“We are probably not building as much as we need to … this was exacerbated a little bit by Covid,” Massaro said.

“It’s not the operators who will feel the shortfall, it is the people wanting to move into retirement living.

“Operators will go in there and fill the gap … but it’s a very long process, getting permissions from councils and the DA process.”

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Massaro said more appropriate land rezoning and local governments that were supportive of retirement living and aged care development could help to plug the gap.

Vertical retirement living is a growing trend according to Massaro. He said 56 per cent of new villages currently under development were either vertical or a combination of vertical and broadacre, up from 9 per cent in 2019.

▲ Somerset at Indooroopilly Golf Club is one of Aura Holdings infill projects under construction.

Aura Holdings is expanding its footprint across southeast Queensland, capitalising on in-fill development opportunities within inner-city areas.

Aura Holdings director and co-founder Tim Russell said their strategy to negotiate land rezoning on golf clubs and bowls clubs had been well-received but “it’s not for the faint-hearted”.

He said it was a long process from start to finish with many hurdles, but he believed building the right type of development in the right location resonated with retirees.

“We’ve seen a lot of opportunities but we’ve only embarked on sites that we really believe in,” Russell said.

“We’re not wanting to go out in a field of dreams, that’s not our strategy.

“We are delivering in the areas that are under-supplied, in mature suburbs in infill locations. We believe we are meeting a real need in the communities we operate in.”

Russell said there were Aura Holdings developments across Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba but he hoped to add a further four to their portfolio in the next few years.

“We are investigating about half-a-dozen opportunities in southeast Queensland right now. When our current developments are finished we will have about 800 apartments online,” he said.

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