2016 Retirement Living Census provides detailed industry snapshot

The 2016 PwC/Property Council Retirement Census, the largest annual snapshot of data and trends in the retirement living sector, has confirmed strong rates of occupancy and a continuing shift to an older resident.

This year's Census, which is comprised of data provided by operators of more than 53,000 retirement and independent living units across Australia, found the average age of new residents has risen to 75 (from 74 last year), while the average age of current residents is 80.

Australian retirement villages now have a 92 per cent occupancy rate, showcasing the growing popularity of retirement living among Australia's senior population.

"What we can see from the research is that retirement villages can extend the independence and quality of life of their residents," says Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia.

"The 2016 PwC/Property Council Retirement Census indicates retirement villages are growing in popularity and are an affordable downsizing proposition that provide real lifestyle and health benefits to residents.

"According to the Retirement Census, the average two-bedroom unit is priced at 67 per cent of the median house price in the same postcode. This enables older Australians to make the move while ensuring they also have cash on hand for their health and lifestyle needs.

"The Census does indicate some challenges ahead for the sector though, with assistance needed from policy makers and governments to ensure there remains sufficient seniors housing available.

"One of the challenges is to ensure we get attractive seniors housing in all parts of our major cities, and not just on the urban fringe. This is vital so that residents can live close to their communities and families.

"As well, the average village age is 24 years old, and many villages are approaching a stage where significant redevelopment will be required."

Other findings from the 2016 PwC/Property Council Retirement Census include:

  • 65 per cent of village residents are female, while 60 per cent of units are occupied by single residents with 40 per cent occupied by couples;
  • The average current tenure of residents is 7 years;
  • The average monthly service fee charged by village operators is $409 (less than a quarter of the full base age pension for singles);
  • The average cost of a two-bedroom retirement village unit is $398,000, up from $385,000 last year;
  • 26 per cent of villages reported co-located aged care or aged care within 500 metres of the village.

PwC Real Estate Advisory Partner Tony Massaro says, "We are pleased to see increasing industry support going into the third year of the Census. The information that we collect and publish continues to enable current owners to successfully benchmark their business performance against multiple critical success factors.

"Another benefit of the Census is that it supports new stakeholders and policymakers with high quality information, helping them to understand the industry with better clarity," Mr Massaro added.

The Property Council urged governments at all levels to take notice of the Census results and factor it into their planning for the growth of the senior population.

"Retirement villages support the desire of older Australians to remain independent and active for as long as they possibly can. They provide a service that doesn't just help residents but their families as well," says Mr Morrison.

"Growing old is never easy – often compounded by the loss of mobility and the loss of loved ones and friends. Retirement villages play a vital role in supporting residents physically and emotionally."

Download the 2016 PwC/Property Council Retirement Census public report.