New retirement village versus old: The benefits and pitfalls

Sep 19, 2019
With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to know where to start. Source: Getty.

Making the choice to downsize and move into a retirement village marks a huge life change, so it’s crucial that you do some research to make sure the village you settle upon is the right one for you. But with so many options on the market, it can be difficult to know where to start.

One of the biggest selling points of a village is how it looks on the outside – is it equipped with all the latest mod cons, for example, or is it starting to look a little tired or run down? While choosing a brand new village may seem like the obvious best choice, there are pros and cons to both older and more modern offerings.

So before you make the leap and join the 184,000 Aussies already living in a retirement village, here are some of the biggest benefits and pitfalls of both.

The benefits of choosing a new village?

Everyone likes something that is shiny and new, so it’s no surprise that you might lean towards a brand new retirement village, as opposed to an older establishment. As with all new builds, the newest units and villas on offer will likely come fitted with the latest appliances and be constructed in a more modern style. They are also far less likely to have any faults or issues, which may be the case with older units that have been subject to a little wear and tear over the years.

Another benefit of choosing a new village is the facilities on offer within the community. Just like the units, these communal facilities are bound to be brand new. If you get in early enough, you could even be the first resident to ever use them!

The pitfalls of choosing a new village?

One of the main pitfalls of moving to a brand new village is the cost, as all of those new features you fell in love with in the first place, no doubt come with a price tag to match. That’s not to say that it isn’t worth shelling out a little more if you can afford it, in order to get your dream retirement home. But it is important to decide whether you are really getting your money’s worth before you sign on the dotted line.

Due to the very nature of new villages, given they haven’t been up and running for all that long, there can often be a lot of empty units to begin with. While this may not bother some people, and may cease to be an issue months down the line, if you are seeking a buzzing hub of activity, then a brand new village may let you down.

The benefits of choosing an old village?

If one of the reasons you have found yourself considering the move to a retirement village is the desire to have a full and active social life, then villages that have been around longer may be more likely to fit the bill. With many residents who have lived there for a number of years, older villages may have a greater number of clubs, classes and activities that you can get involved with.

Older villages may also charge less for their units, so if price is a key factor for you then this is definitely something to look out for. According to CHOICE, a two-bedroom unit that is less than 10-years old will set you back 90 per cent of the average house price in that area, while an older unit (30 years plus) will cost about half the average price – so the difference can be huge.

The pitfalls of choosing an old village?

As is to be expected with all ageing properties, the units and facilities in older retirement villages are more likely to show signs of wear and tear. This could be anything from fading furnishings to scuffed walls and worn carpets, or even something as simple as outdated decor.

Also, older villages may not be as pet-friendly as newer ones, so it’s important to check this if you can’t bear to part with your fur baby.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial or legal situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product or legal advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial or legal decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services or legal advice.

Are you thinking about downsizing? Would you move into a retirement village?

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