02 March 2018

The changing face of retirement living

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As the population ages and Australia’s baby-boomers reach retirement, the demand for affordable retirement living options is higher than ever.

Retirement villages are specifically designed to meet the accommodation, social and recreational needs of over 55s – for many, they offer the perfect solution for a restful and enjoyable senior lifestyle, boasting state-of-the-art facilities, inviting communities and *seemingly* affordable pricing plans.

However, as part of its four-point plan to improve retirement village living, the NSW Government commissioned an inquiry into the NSW retirement village sector in late 2017, in an effort to review the protections offered to residents and monitor whether villages are operating in compliance with the law.

Championing the list of compliance concerns is the lack of transparency in village contracts and fee agreements.

One of the less understood considerations for prospective residents when buying into a retirement village is the Deferred Management Fee, or ‘DMF’.

Most retirees don’t realise just how much departure fees can cost them, and get a nasty shock when they find out. Contracts are lengthy and difficult to understand, and many residents suffer a great deal of stress when they are ready to sell and find out that a large chunk of their profits are not theirs after all. They are often unaware as to the implications of this condition when signing contracts, and suffer a huge financial sting for residents and their families in the long run.

However, property giant Stockland is bringing change to the retirement village horizon.

Aspire by Stockland defines itself as a “new kind of living for the over 55s”.

Rather than typical retirement village contracts which see residents pay entry fees of between 65-70 per cent of a typical property price in the area, followed by an exit fee on departure after a lifetime lease, Aspire in Sydney’s Marsden Park will see residents pay for and own 100% of their property.

It’s a step in the right direction, however Stockland CEO Stephen Bull admits a national rollout will incur legislative friction.

“Because this product doesn’t fall under the Retirement Living Act, we need to get planning support,” he said.

Nevertheless, this hopefully signifies positive change in the face of retirement living.

Written by: Beth Hampton 

I came to Australia in late 2016, having spent some time travelling through Southeast Asia and briefly living in Singapore – I was ready to embrace the lifestyle of a working Sydneysider!

I grew up in London, and completed my degree in Psychology at the University of York. I always dreamed of landing a job in the police, but figured it was worth swapping the handcuffs and late shifts for an exciting new city and a job full of fun and opportunity in a fantastic company like Akolade!

Love cooking, playing the piano, terrible British soap operas, an ice-cold G&T and exploring new places.

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