Baby boomers move on up

An artist’s impression of Aveo’s retirement home village at Springfield.

Retirement living in southeast Queensland is going high-rise, as a report shows almost a dozen people aged between 70 and 84 for every existing unit.

Property consultancy Urbis found 12.1 older residents for each retirement unit in Brisbane, where the local council has sought to spur development in the sector by slashing taxes and offering planning incentives.

Industry across the country has called for incentives and an overhaul of planning issues to cater for a wave of baby-boomer retirees downsizing their homes.

Urbis director Mal Aikman says the “baby-boomer bulge” is hitting the age where people have previously moved into retirement homes.

“The average entry age to a retirement village is about 72, the oldest baby-boomers are now 71,” he says.

“What we’re seeing from the supply side is a number of developers are making their products more attractive to retirees, both in terms of facilities and the quality of built and human services.”

It is a tsunami of retirees coming through and they’re not being catered for at the ­moment

According to the research, 25% of units in development application and approval across southeast Queensland are more than 10 storeys high – a relatively new concept for the region.

Aveo Group has a pipeline of more than 5200 retirement and 642 aged-care units under development and is increasingly moving towards mid-rise and high-rise towers.

Chief executive Geoff Grady says demand is expected to increase 250% over the next 30 years.

He says the typical resident was a woman in her 70s who wanted to remain in her local community, but wanted greater security and support.

“It is a tsunami of retirees coming through and they’re not being catered for at the ­moment,” he says.

Aveo’s development at Brisbane’s inner-city Gasworks precinct is a 19-storey tower above a Woolworths-anchored retail complex.

What we’re seeing from the supply side is a number of developers are making their products more attractive to retirees

The listed group has approval for the biggest retirement care facility in Australia, at Springfield, west of Brisbane, with 2500 units to be built over the next 15 to 20 years. Construction is currently under way on the initial stage of 66 units.

Springfield Land Corporation education and health enterprises chief executive Terry Kearney, says the 10ha masterplanned Aveo development will have links to the hospital and recreation areas, as well as an integrated childcare centre.

“This is a product that is well needed and has been requested by the current population and surrounding areas,” he says.

Brisbane council will reduce council development charges by a third for eligible retirement and aged-care developments until 2019, similar to incentives that facilitated 1000 additional hotel rooms and 5000 student beds.

In Western Australia, the Property Council is calling for stamp duty concessions for down-sizers, local government targets for retirement living and retirement village laws reform.

This article originally appeared on www.theaustralian.com.au/property.