Many Baby Boomers, especially women, have had little opportunity to build superannuation, own a home or find a secure home in which to live, according to a recent Anglicare report.
‘... the number of older Australians renting is growing. While the majority of older Australians own their home outright, a sizeable minority do not. Trends suggest that by 2056 just two-thirds of retirees will own their homes, down from nearly 80 percent today.’
As we get older, our thoughts turn to how we will live for our remaining years. In this article, we discuss options for those Boomers who will be renting for the rest of their lives.
Security in housing
While home ownership is an unreal goal for many older Australians, the most critical part of housing is security. And with rents causing hardship for most, what older Boomers look for is some form of secure housing. Sadly, as a renter, this isn’t always possible. Let’s look at options available to older and permanent renters.
National Rental Affordability Scheme (now ended)
The National Rental Affordability Scheme, launched in 2008 by the Rudd government, ended in August 2022. The scheme encouraged landlords to secure vetted tenants, realise government incentives and achieve guaranteed rent by placing their homes into the ‘pool’ for rental assistance properties.
Most tenants tended to be those on a government pension or some form of assistance. Low-income tenants of NRAS properties will now need to rely on Centrelink payments or be forced into social housing, with possible wait times of up to 10 years in some cities or areas.
While the current Federal Government has plans for 30,000 new homes under the yet-to-be-created $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund, at present most tenants in the private rental sector must look to alternatives.
Alternative housing models for older Australians
The dream is to own your own home but we understand that simply isn’t possible for many. However, there are low-cost housing options available to older Australians including:
- Shared accommodation. (See the shared accommodation section on our website)
- Housing co-operatives
- Rental options in retirement villages
- Land lease communities e.g. caravan parks
Shared accommodation (co-living)
Maybe it’s memories of glorious share house fun in our youth but many older Australians are returning to shared accommodation. Often it’s for financial reasons but many continue in shared accommodation for the social aspect i.e. having some company. While the Baby Boomer group is a new-ish cohort to sign up for shared housing, we expect to see more older Australians choosing to share rather than rent.
Older women in particular are at a greater risk of becoming homeless. Shared accommodation is one of the increasingly limited options for those women who may have little or no superannuation, earned less during their working lives, and lost their home on the death or divorce of a partner.
The good news is that, although sharers need to navigate issues like personal space, the companionship more than compensates.
You can find various providers of co-living properties such as Calyptus Co-Living on our website.
A housing co-operative comprises a group of people who have come together to provide affordable and sustainable housing to co-op members. All co-op members participate in the management of the housing and grounds. Members can include everyone from young singles and families to older people.
Retirement village rental
The over 55s or in some instances, the over 50s, have the option of renting in a retirement village. These villages offer benefits that might include a 10-year lease, a secure home and facilities like a pool, barbecue area, community hall, and various sporting activities. These properties are not offered specifically to low-income tenants; however, some retirement villages have affordable rental properties.
And, according to Downsizing CEO, Amanda Graham,
“...you can claim rent assistance if the price you pay for your home is below the Centrelink Extra Allowable Amount. It is the difference between the homeowner and non-homeowner asset thresholds, which as at 1 July 2022 is $224,500. The amount of rent assistance you can claim is based on the ongoing village fees.”
Land-lease communities (caravan parks)
Ever dreamt of building your own home but couldn’t afford the land or the architect fees? Well, land lease could be your answer. When you enter a land lease community, you buy a modular home (a demountable and relocatable-type home) and then lease land in a land lease community.
And with many land lease communities by the ocean or in desirable regional locations, you’re on holidays all year ‘round. Some land lease communities such as those managed by Hampshire Property Group, offer a shared equity arrangement so homeowners can retain more of their capital.
If you’d like to read more about these types of homes, we’ve covered the topic in our article named a modern take on fully furnished, relocatable modular homes.