Retirement Update


NSW Government Ambassador

The NSW Government has announced Kathryn Greiner AO as the NSW Retirement Village Ambassador.

Her role will be to speak to and advocate for retirement village residents across the State.

Ms Greiner was the Chair of the NSW Inquiry into Retirement Villages which produced a report that outlined 17 recommendations to the Government on potential improvements to the industry, the creation of an Ambassador was one recommendation.

The Retirement Village Industry called for an ambassador as a part of its 8-point plan released in 2017 in addition to mandatory accreditation for retirement village operators, clearer contracts and better dispute resolution mechanisms.

Ms Greiner will commence a Retirement Village Roadshow, beginning immediately, to visit residents in retirement villages. The Roadshow will also involve talks and information sessions in RSL clubs and local centres around NSW to help identify residents’ future needs and inform them about their rights.

The Property Council welcomes the announcement of Ms Greiner’s appointment and looks forward to working with her to bring greater transparency and positive benefits to both industry and residents.

For more information on the Roadshow or to request the Ambassador visit a village contact Fair Trading on  13 32 20 or visit the Fair Trading website.


2018 Retirement Census

New data has confirmed that the Australian retirement living sector is trending towards a greater proportion of vertical communities and a growing number of new developments are providing a wider variety of services to residents than ever before.

The annual PwC/Property Council Retirement Census for 2018 showed that nearly 30% of all new retirement communities under development have vertical village components, compared to 15% of existing developments, as baby boomer retirees show more of a preference for apartment living.

Other key findings show:

  • Entry into a retirement village remains affordable, at an average of 64% of the price of the median 2-bedroom house price across Australia (44% in Sydney and 55% in Melbourne);
  • 97% of new developments have at least five facilities or services available for residents, including health services, emergency call systems, social programs, cafes and community centres;
  • The average age of a retirement living resident has increased to 81, while the average age of entry remains 75 – only 2% of current residents are now aged under 70; and
  • Village occupancy remains strong at an average of 89% nationally.

Ben Myers, Executive Director – Retirement Living at the Property Council of Australia, said the Census shows how the industry is responding to changing resident needs, but also highlights some challenges for the industry.

“Despite a strong pipeline of units coming to the market over the next four years, the industry is struggling to access land and planning approvals to supply purpose-built housing for rapidly increasing number of older Australians,” Mr Myers said.

 “Just as interesting is the trend towards a fuller service offering that goes well beyond housing. Modern retirees are seeking a more holistic solution, including easy access to health services on site and a range of recreational options.

 “The Census also confirms some challenges the industry will look to address in 2019 – time on market for re-sales is increasing, reflecting a broader real estate trend as the residential market cools.”

A copy of the 2018 Retirement Living Census is available here .

New Design Guidelines for Retirement Villages

The Property Council of Australia and ThomsonAdsett have released a new guide for designers and developers of retirement communities, to ensure they are able to capture best practice design elements that lead to great experiences for residents.

Best Practice Principles for Seniors Community Design is aimed at anyone who has an influential role in the design, re-design, construction or development of retirement villages and other seniors’ communities.

The guide has been developed by world renowned architecture firm ThomsonAdsett , with considerable advice from a group of recognised industry leaders, who are all passionate about delivering great outcomes for their residents.

The guide has been created with communities of all kinds and sizes in mind, including, high-rise apartment tower or a conventional broad acre village.

Download Best Practice Principles for Seniors Community Design .

‘A Wise Move Campaign’

The Retirement Living Council has recently launched its ‘A Wise Move’ industry campaign which will promote the great retirement living lifestyle to senior Australians, and also provide them with support and information on a brand new consumer website www.awisemove.com.au  

The campaign will focus on three goals:

  1. To increase awareness and understanding of retirement living
  2. To increase aspiration and desire for retirement living
  3. To rebuild trust in the industry.

Retirement Living Council Executive Director Ben Myers said the campaign was part of a suite of initiatives providing practical tips to help potential residents make a wise move by choosing to live in a retirement village.

“The retirement living industry is working hard to listen to residents and is focused on ensuring that there is a much stronger focus on simplifying contracts and making retirement living as hassle free as possible," Mr Myers said.

“We want the experiences of residents in retirement villages to be the best experiences possible.

“This campaign is very much focused on increasing awareness and understanding of retirement living, so people can make an informed decision on what it’s all about and how it may help them.”

The campaign will also be one of the several topics on the agenda at the National Retirement Living Summit in Canberra, along with global consumer research, the downturn in the housing market, the industry 8-point-plan, the Royal Commission and much more.

Read more here.

Retirement Living Code of Conduct launched

The retirement living industry has today officially launched a new industry code of conduct and is urging all retirement village operators to sign up over the next 12 months to demonstrate their commitment to high standards and resident satisfaction.

The Retirement Living Code of Conduct is the initiative of two peak industry bodies representing retirement living operators across Australia - the Retirement Living Council (which is part of the Property Council of Australia) and Leading Age Services Australia (LASA).

The new code, which is scheduled to be rolled out from January 2019 and take full effect from 1 January 2020, has been finalised after an extensive 12-month development process including consultation with retirement village operators, residents and other interested stakeholders earlier this year.

Ben Myers, Executive Director - Retirement Living at the Property Council of Australia, said, “The vision of the Retirement Living Code of Conduct is to promote and protect the independence, privacy, dignity, happiness, safety and security of retirement village residents.

“The code intends to create certainty and transparency around processes for moving into communities, living in communities including dispute resolution, and leaving a community. The code has been created to operate in conjunction with existing state and territory laws and regulations.

“With approximately 2300 retirement villages across Australia accommodating residents, the Retirement Living Code of Conduct is critical to ensuring that the retirement living industry can provide current and future residents with an exceptional quality of service.”

Sean Rooney, CEO at LASA, said, “This Retirement Living Code of Conduct intends to set standards above and beyond statutory obligations.

“The code covers all aspects of a resident’s experience in a retirement community: from signing the contract to enter the community, their on-site experience of living in the retirement community, their decision to leave the community and then right through until the resident’s unit or apartment is re-sold.

“The code is vital for the industry to set high standards for the marketing, selling and operating retirement communities, to promote and protect the interests of residents, and provide a clear framework for resolving disputes should they arise.

“LASA commends this code to operators across the country, to help provide residents with peace of mind about the community they live in or are thinking of moving into.”

From January 2019, all retirement village operators will be able to subscribe to the code at www.retirementlivingcode.com.au. To ensure signatories meet the code’s standards and that appropriate resources are in place to support the code’s administration, the code will operate in a transitional stage until 31 December 2019.  

From 1 January 2020, residents will be able to make a complaint against a code signatory if they believe their community is not meeting the code standards.

Media contact: 

Andrew Lowcock  |  M 0447 666 902  |  E alowcock@propertycouncil.com.au

David O’Sullivan  |  M 0427 138 024  |  E davido@lasa.asn.au