As the nation’s residential market continues to cool, Australia’s ageing population may provide scope for growth as industry figures look for alternatives in Melbourne’s expanding downsizer market.
A growing shift towards “independent living” a hybrid between the aged care sector and traditional apartments has taken momentum, explains Marshall White Projects director Leonard Teplin.
“The past few years have seen developers adjust their focus to down-sizers and seen incredible success, independent living is the next step,” Teplin said.
“Australia’s over 65 population is growing at an exponential rate, as is the number of people moving into aged care, which has increased by 31 per cent in the past 10 years.”
Melbourne design practice CHT Architects specialise in aged-care retirement living and residential apartments.
Director David Carabott says he is working with a number of developers amending their residential permits to shift the focus to buyers looking for independent living.
“The increasing acceptance of apartment living among the older demographic has paved the way for retirement living to be repositioned as a modern vertical village, rather than the traditional horizontal-style village where residents are often isolated from their families in the outer suburbs,” Carabott said.
Carabott believes this new iteration of independent living, caters to a broader audience of down-sizers wanting the levels of security and convenience but still desire the inner-suburb life with access to key amenities and entertainment precincts.
“Developers can make some easy-to-implement changes in the planning process of their projects to make them adaptable to cater to this buyer, and consequently find themselves filling a big gap in the market,” Carabott said.
“It’s relatively unprecedented at the moment, which leaves a unique opportunity for developers to get their product out there first.”
Melbourne property and retirement village veteran Matthew Chun says independent living offers the best of both worlds for nation’s older generation, who can enjoy all the advantages of traditional apartment living with additional lifestyle and financial benefits.
“The combination of a strong demographic shift towards this buyer, the affordability of the product and the lack of supply make this sector extremely attractive to developers.”