Industry Braces for the Silver Tsunami

The retirement living industry is set for a major shake-up in coming years as the baby boomers enter the market redefining senior’s accommodation.

The retirement living sector must embrace the wants and needs of this changing demographic of residents, even if that means rethinking their entire business models, “Property Council WA Executive Director Lino Iacomella said.

“People are living and working longer than ever before, which will totally change the needs of those entering seniors accommodation.”

According to data from Macroplan Executive Chairman Brian Haratsis, by 2025 more than 5.1 million Australian will be over 65, with 382,000 seniors set to call retirement villages home.

“Although there will be greater demand for seniors accommodation workforce participation is likely to be high, pushing to around 80% of 65 to 75 year olds,” Haratsis said. 

“Australia needs a new housing model, including more long term rentals that will give surety to residents.

“There also needs to be more product types to be introduced on the market, focussed at those still working. We are likely to see a range of pathway products with early investment opportunities coming into the market very soon,” Haratsis said.

Stockland Head of Asset Management Retirement Living Michael Wappett said the next generation of seniors housing residents are a different breed that the pre-boomers that are the current focus of the market.

“Old age is getting pushed back further and further,” he said. “Medical and cosmetic advances are helping baby boomers delay the aging process and they are the first senior generation happy to spend on themselves.

“But most baby boomers don’t have enough savings to see them through retirement.  The fact that many residents will still be in the workforce means developers cannot establish villages in an IT black spot.  You need to adapt the built form to accommodate these changing needs.”

Developments must be packed full of the latest smart technologies. Although late adopters, the baby boomers now embrace these technologies as standard. Smart technologies can be utilised in improve the life style and wellbeing of residents from live updates on their general health, sending results direct to their health practitioners,  to streamlining social activities such as booking day trips on line rather than waiting in line at the village manager’s office.

“Location is also more important than ever before as many residents will still have to commute to work. The availability of land is one of the biggest issues facing the industry but if the government cuts the red tape surrounding the Retirement Living Act, we’ll see a new cohort of development take shape across Perth,” Wappett said.

Media contact:  Lino Iacomella  |  M  0417 501 974   |   E  [email protected]