Retirement Living Market Update Wrap-Up

On 28 July the Retirement Living Council hosted a free briefing for retirement village operators. 

Joined by Tony Massaro from PwC and Felicity Emmett, a senior economist from ANZ, industry trends and forecasts were discussed. 

Importantly, Tony touched on the PwC/Property Council Retirement Census. Running back through the data that was accumulated from the 2019 Retirement Census, he gave a succinct recap of this data and how it is currently influencing Australia's retirement living landscape. 

"There was very much a pronounced trend of an increasing proportion of vertical villages, I think that is something that those of us in the industry have seen very clearly.

"As our larger metropolitan areas can't continue to go out there is a vocation trend that has been happening." he said. 

When updating the audience on the impact that COVID has had so far on the market, there was a degree of optimism. 

"From an operator's standpoint, ... after the first lockdown happened, things froze ...

"We came out of that and we started to see some very good reversal of that trend, to the point that speaking with some operators, they were having up to ten settlements a month for several months." he said. 

One crucial point that was made, that seemed to encapsulate the retirement living experience during COVID, was the heightened level of care and attention residents in retirement communities received. 

"A lot of people found that their parents, and people they care for who are older, locking down in that one little residence, which might be a townhouse ... all of a sudden they're lonely.

"But in a retirement village ... people in these villages had a bit more space to come out and walk around in their community backyards." 

Felicity Emmett is responsible for analysis and forecasting of Australian macro-economic indicators, providing specialist analysis on topical issues and presents regular reports and media commentary on economic issues. 

Speaking about the latest results from the ANZ/Property Council Survey, it is important to consider when discussing these results that the recent Victorian shutdown should be taken into consideration. 

"98% of respondents have said that they have been directly impacted by COVID. There has been an increase in this survey of respondents that have said that COVID has had a moderate or serious impact on their business," she said.

This is unsurprising, as the majority of economic indicators at this time will convey similar statistics, yet there has still been some degree of recovery for the property industry as a whole.

"In a good news story the number of people saying that the virus affected the viability of their business has fell."

Price expectations rose for the retirement living sector in the latest survey, but remain in negative territory, with this being most pronounced in WA and NSW.