With an ageing population and an increase in government incentives to downsize, retirement living is a rapidly growing industry in Australia. But why do only 5.7% of Australian seniors enter this market?
The answer may lie in the requirements retirees have when they’re seeking to downsize. In February/March this year, Ellivo Architects conducted a national survey of 514 seniors, aged 50 and over, to discover what qualities of retirement living appeal most to residents.
The results found that respondents are looking for a personalised environment, one that does not feel ‘institutionalised’. Residents want closer proximity to medical assistance, lower maintenance of building and gardens, and independence to cook and entertain family and friends.
With downsizers looking for more choice in living, barriers to entry might hamper the ability to choose retirement living. Scott Whiteoak, Principal at Ellivo architects believes there are a range of concerns for seniors upon deciding to enter into the market.
“There needs to be something that is enticing for you [seniors] to move from your own residence to a better environment. It’s being able to downsize, but upgrade your lifestyle, and not many communities have been established that allows people to do that.”
Respondents also found costs such as deferred management fees, contractual complexity, and general aversion to be barriers to entry. Changes in the requirements of seniors, in conjunction with these identified barriers, has meant market penetration rates have suffered.
This has been reflected through the 2015 PCA Retirement census which found that the penetration rate for retirement living in Australia is set to grow to 7.5% nationally by 2025; lower than the 10% and 14% in Europe and the United States.
Seniors now desire new aspirational features when choosing retirement living. Fast internet speeds and digital connectivity is one requirement that is now seen as a priority for retirees. Traditionally, students and younger residents have valued this living feature, but it is now seen as a necessity for senior residents as a way to keep contact with relatives.
Internet Service Provider, VostroNet, is one company that identifies the need for fast internet to retirement living, offering end-to-end service that meets the demand of this changing industry. With growth from an aging population and increased government incentives, there is an enormous opportunity to offer downsizers the fast, high-quality internet that they require.
This rapidly growing market is undergoing significant changes, subject to the new requirements seniors look for when moving toward the industry. Developers are required to meet the new needs of the market, offering seniors an appealing alternative to living.