Ageing workforce, older homebuyers could spell end of 'retirement' villages

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on February 15, 2022 Fact Checked
Ageing workforce, older homebuyers could spell end of 'retirement' villages

A new study by over 50s housing portal Downsizing.com.au revealed the rising number of older workers is set to transform the over-50s' housing industry.

The research findings noted Australians predominantly over 60 are choosing to continue to work later in life to meet the rising costs of living and gain confidence in their finances in times of economic and investment uncertainty.

Downsizing.com.au highlights the number of Australians aged 60 to 64 who are still working has increased from 218,000 in December 2011 to 868,000 people in December 2021.

Further, if the workforce and population changes recorded over the last decade are replicated in the next decade, Downsizing.com.au notes this is expected to increase to 5.2 million working over-50s by 2031, including some 1.17 million Australians aged over 65.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) labour force figures for the month of December 2021 showcased nearly four million Australians over 50 are currently working.

Australia has no definitive retirement age meaning those wanting to continue to work can do so until they are comfortable with their financial position.

See Also: The struggle of getting a mortgage as a middle-aged divorcee

Traditionally, retirement generally means downsizing – which is based on couples retiring from the workforce and family duties, and then being able to sell their unencumbered home and move to more age-appropriate housing or retirement living.

Last week the Senate passed superannuation legislation, lowering the age threshold for the super downsizer scheme from 65 to 60, which is set to help superannuation members near retirement move to accommodation more suitable.

Retirement living operators are now catering for working over 50s by providing facilities such as study nooks, multi-purpose rooms and communal workplace facilities, according to Downsizing.

The study also notes vernacular is changing, with many companies describing retirement villages as 'downsizer friendly', 'third age living', or 'lifestyle housing'.

Downsizing.com.au CEO Amanda Graham said irrespective of the fact they are still working or holding a mortgage, many Australians over 50 are still likely to be keen to move into age-appropriate housing.

"There is however a need to recognise that, in coming years and decades, more over 50s housing communities are likely to include a blend of both working and retired people," Ms Graham said.

"In addition, the huge increase in average mortgage levels for people over 55 means that there needs to be a greater focus on products which allow people to move these mortgages across into what was traditionally retirement housing."

Legislation not keeping up with reality

Downsizing.com.au notes despite the increasing number of working older Australians, some states' legislation precludes full-time workers from living in retirement villages.

The retirement village legislative schemes for South Australia and Tasmania both define retirement villages as places predominantly occupied by people who are over the age of 55 and are not working full-time.

This approach differs to retirement village definitions in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, Victoria, and Western Australia which don’t exclude full-time workers.

Queensland has no specific definition of a retiree but does allow retirement communities to make age-based occupation rules.

"In the future, we expect the focus of over 50s communities will be more about lifestyle than retirement," Ms Graham said.

"It is likely that statutory definitions which don’t embrace working people in retirement housing will over time and through pressure, be amended."


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Lender

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Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. However, the ‘Compare Home Loans’ table allows for calculations to be made on variables as selected and input by the user. All products will list the LVR with the product and rate which are clearly published on the Product Provider’s web site. Monthly repayments, once the base criteria are altered by the user, will be based on the selected products’ advertised rates and determined by the loan amount, repayment type, loan term and LVR as input by the user/you. *The Comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Rates correct as of May 26, 2022. View disclaimer.



Image by Qimono via Pixabay

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Jacob Cocciolone joined the Savings team in 2021 as a Finance Journalist. Driven by a passion for keeping Australians up to date with the latest financial news and trends, his areas of interest include financial technology, investing, property and motoring.

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