Retirement living census reveals average cost of retirement village units

Have you ever wondered what the average cost of a retirement village unit is?

Well, a census conducted by PwC and the Property Council of Australia has revealed how much it’ll cost you to buy a retirement village unit – and the results might surprise you.

The 2016 PwC/Property Council Retirement Census was released late last month and it shows a lot of interesting facts about the state of retirement village living in Australia.

So, what is the average cost of a retirement village unit?

According to the census, if you’re in the market for buying a two-bedroom retirement village unit you’re looking an average cost of $398,000 – up from $375,000 two years ago.

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Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia Ken Morrison said the was equal to an average of 67% 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 need,” he said.

The report states that independent living units “remain affordable compared to the median price of houses in the same postcode”.

The biggest gap between the median house price and retirement village cost is in Sydney, where buying a unit would set you back just 45% of the median house price in the area.

That’s compared to Melbourne (65%), Canberra (66%), Brisbane (79%), Perth (76%) and Adelaide (71%).

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What about the fees once you move into a retirement village?

According to the census, the average monthly service fee is less than a quarter of your monthly full age pension.

The average is $409 across all the different retirement villages.

If you move to a For Profit privately-owned retirement village your average monthly service fee would be $431, compared to $405 in a not-for-profit village or $381 in a For Profit that is publicly owned.

Meanwhile, 70% of retirement villages have a Buy Back requirement – meaning the operator will buy your retirement village back off you if you want to move and can’t find a buyer in a certain period of time.

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Not only has the census revealed the average costs for you, it’s also revealed some surprising figures about the age we’re moving into retirement villages.

The average age of new residents in retirement villages has jumped from 74 last year to 75 this year, while the average age of retirement village residents in 80.

“While traditionally the target demographic has been described as 55+ years old, it is clear that the age of a typical retirement living resident has shifted significantly,” the report reads,

“In this year’s Census data, only 4% of residents are younger than 65 years old.

“This change in demographic is important to note, particularly in forecasting timing of potential future demand.”

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The census also found the average resident lives in the retirement village for seven years, while the average retirement village is 24 years old.

“Many villages are approaching a stage where significant redevelopment will be required,” Morrison said.

The move from retirement villages to aged care is also covered in the census, which found 26% of retirement villages are now either co-located or within 500 metres of an aged care facility.

Morrison said retirement villages supported 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,” he said.

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“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.”

You can read the full retirement census here.

What do you think of the census findings? Are you surprised by any of the results?