Retirement village boom set to hit Brisbane

BRISBANE'S ageing population will spur a retirement village building boom over the next two decades, as retirees demand to live out their days close to friends and family.

Brisbane City Council estimates demand for retirement and aged care housing will rise by 50 per cent by 2027 as the number of people aged over 65 surges.

RetireAustralia chief executive Alison Quinn said the retirement village industry was playing catch up, with much of the existing housing stock more than two decades old.

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"There has been a dearth of new development," said Ms Quinn, whose Brisbane-based company owns 28 villages around Australia.

"What has happened in the last 15-20 years is that retirement villages have had to compete with other developers for land. The problem is our profit margin is not as large."

Brisbane City Council is moving to overcome some of those barriers by reducing infrastructure charges for villages and increasing allowable building heights in medium and high density areas.

Property specialist Knight Frank estimates that an additional 6757 independent living units for retirees will be needed in the city in the next three years alone.

The wider region, including the Gold and Sunshine coasts, is expected to need double the amount of retirement living accommodation by 2050.

RetireAustralia is looking at building 300 new living units each year to cope with rising demand. The company has development applications lodged for sites at Lutwyche, Tarragindi and Burleigh.

The broad acre retirement village traditionally located in outer suburbs is quickly being replaced by multi-storey developments in suburbs close to the city.

Aura CEO Tim Russell.
Aura CEO Tim Russell.

One example of this changing trend is Aura Holdings, which is building a multi-storey village at Corinda that will include a cafe, library, hairdresser and swimming pool.

Aura director Tim Russell said retirees these days typically wanted to live in the same community they raised their families.

"They want to go to the same church, catch the same bus and be where all their friends are," Mr Russell said.

"The people going into retirement villages these days are typically older, in their mid-70s, and want to have all the services close by."

QUT researcher Laurie Buys said the baby boomer generation expected to lead an active life and maintain their contribution and value within their community.

"The industry has an opportunity to challenge traditional stereotypes and assumption of ageing," Professor Buys said.

News Corp Australia

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