Considering a lifestyle community

Lifestyle communities: What are they and are they right for you?

Sep 08, 2022
Ingenia’s Latitude One in Port Stephens combines the best of a sea and tree change with luxury homes and gold class facilities. Image source: Supplied

If you’ve made the decision to downsize, you’ve probably already started to consider which type of home will offer the best possible retirement lifestyle.

But it’s important to remember that downsizing isn’t just about moving to a smaller, less expensive home. It’s also about “right-sizing” to a house designed for low-maintenance, independent living. A house that’s safe, secure and provides ongoing financial benefits. Then there’s the lifestyle aspect to consider: is your new home going to help you live the life you’ve always wanted?

You may have explored the obvious property options, like downsizing to a smaller house or new apartment. An option also worth considering is a home in a lifestyle community, also referred to as land lease communities, over 55s communities or lifestyle resorts, for their potential to leave you with more of your hard-earned money to spend curating the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of.

Across Australia, lifestyle communities such as those operated by Ingenia Lifestyle are growing in popularity as an innovative and financially savvy option with a bounty of lifestyle and financial benefits for pre-retirees, semi-retirees and retirees.

We spoke to retirement living expert and author, Rachel Lane, to get a better understanding of what lifestyle communities are and how moving into one could be the best decision you ever make.

What are lifestyle communities?

Whether you’re still working full time, part-time, volunteering or have retired, lifestyle communities are purpose-built for downsized, low-maintenance living in a safe, secure environment with resort-style facilities and a vibrant community of people at a similar stage of life.

As a resident of a lifestyle community, you’ll own your home but not the land it sits on. This offers a more affordable entry price-point and eliminates the need to pay stamp duty and other council rates – leaving you with more to spend on your retirement plans.

Rachel explains that lifestyle communities have become increasingly popular with downsizers, especially in recent years.

“The pandemic brought a number of things into focus for downsizers, including how much maintenance their current home needs – and the rising cost of that – and how socially disconnected a big home in the suburbs can be.

“The growing popularity of land lease communities is a combination of those two things together with the simple financial arrangements that apply in these types of communities”.

Home ownership & buying model

Lifestyle communities have a unique buying model and ownership structure that differs from traditional house and land purchases and retirement villages.

The biggest difference being that you own your home, but not the land it sits on – which is leased from the operator under a Residential Site Agreement. As part of your lease, you also get access to the community facilities and amenities, which at Ingenia Lifestyle might include a resort-style pool, cinema, resident bar, bowling green, yoga or pilates studio, barbeque area and community garden.

Moving to a lifestyle community is similar to purchasing and downsizing to a smaller, existing property via a typical real estate transaction – but with an array of benefits designed to enhance your lifestyle, safety, and security.

Fees and costs

Once you’ve paid for your home in a lifestyle community, there’s only one ongoing fee you’re required to pay – the weekly site rental fee.

The fee covers the rent of the site your house sits on and the cost of running and maintaining community grounds and facilities. And while you wouldn’t incur this cost if you stayed in your family home, it’s partly offset by the savings inherent to the land lease model, including:

  • No council or water rates
  • Typically, your insurance rates will be reduced because you live in a secure gated community
  • Typically, those who have downsized to a smaller home will see reduced water, gas, and electricity bills

Rachel explains that while the site fees in a lifestyle community are generally higher than ongoing fees in a retirement village, the cost is balanced out by the omission of an exit fee commonly paid on departure from a retirement village.

Eligible residents may also be able to unlock further savings by claiming government rent assistance on these fees.

Curate the lifestyle you deserve

Ingenia Lifestyle communities make way for a worry free, enriching lifestyle by giving residents all the tools they need to feel like they’re on a never-ending holiday.

The communities are thoughtfully designed in harmony with local surrounds so residents can enjoy the good life in a home and community created for relaxed, easy living. Residents can enjoy an active social life while taking comfort in knowing that they can have their privacy, too.

Considering a lifestyle community?

If you’re interested in learning more about how lifestyle communities can help you unlock the retirement of your dreams, download the free e-guide put together by Starts at 60 in partnership with Ingenia: ‘The ultimate guide to lifestyle communities.

This free e-guide is packed with critical information and easy-to-complete exercises to help you better understand and consider living in a lifestyle community.

Download our FREE e-guide

Get your free copy of 'The ultimate guide to lifestyle communities' which provides comprehensive information on everything you need to know if you're considering moving into a lifestyle community.

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