The Victorian Government’s decision to release a vast amount of new urban land is helping to transform Melbourne into Australia’s seniors housing hotspot.
An analysis by Downsizing.com.au has shown that a range of seniors housing providers, with different business models, are capitalising on the positive planning environment in the southern State.
During mid-February, Lifestyle Communities released its half-yearly results, which stated that its “focus remains in Victoria” because of the “favourable planning legislation” and “better access to zoned, flat land for development”.
Lifestyle Communities has 17 land lease communities either open, completed or under development in Victoria. Under the land lease model, homeowners own their home while leasing the land.
In releasing the company’s half-yearly results, Lifestyle Communities CEO James Kelly said the company continues to focus on Melbourne’s growth corridors and is currently considering a range of new village development opportunities.
Meanwhile, according to last year’s Retirement Living Census, prepared by PWC and and the Retirement Living Council, Melbourne had the strongest pipeline of new units in a different seniors housing model – the traditional retirement village.
This conclusion was based on figures which show that a total of 1,291 new retirement village units are predicted to come to the market in Melbourne in the five years between 2018/19 and 2022/23.
This represents a stronger pipeline than Sydney, where 947 new units are predicted over the same period. The new units will come from both new estates, and redevelopment of existing estates.
Speaking to Downsizing.com.au, PwC Real Estate Advisory Partner Tony Massaro said it was possible that Victoria’s aggressive urban land release policy may have influenced the figures.
“Retirement village operators clearly recognise that Victoria is a great market, which is good for downsizers because they have lots of choice and this helps make units more affordable,” Mr Massaro said.
According to the Urban Development Institute of Australia’s 2018 State of The Land report, Melbourne had the strongest performance of any capital city in Australia for new lot production in release areas.
In mid-February, the Victorian Government announced it was releasing a further 50,000 lots over the next four years, including creating 12 new suburbs, on Melbourne’s urban fringe. This followed the government releasing almost 100,000 lots by the end of 2018.
While Sydney’s urban growth is partly constrained by national parks, waterways and hilly areas, Melbourne has an abundance of flat land over which to grow.
Mark Skelsey is the News Editor for Downsizing.com.au