The once humble manufactured home estate industry is going upmarket, with a Queensland-based property developer unveiling a new $1 million dwelling with its own fireplace, ducted air conditioning, solar power and golf course views.
The release of Halcyon’s latest Fairway Series homes follows a new report which finds that manufactured home estates are increasingly catering for aspirational downsizers looking for a luxury, resort-like lifestyle.
The Fairway Series is located at the Halcyon Greens Lifestyle Community at Pimpama on Queensland’s Gold Coast. The dwellings have three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a study and garage, along with ducted air-conditioning, a fireplace and optional Tesla battery system linked to solar power.
Styled by well-known interior designer Coco Republic, the dwellings include open plan living areas, a timber front door and extensive use of stone and timber. Each home has views of the adjacent Gainsborough Greens Golf course and is priced from $995,000.
The Fairway Series are technically manufactured homes, which means that legally - under Queensland law - they must be capable of being moved to another location (and even come with a manual explaining how this can be done).
However, Halcyon joint managing director Dr Bevan Geissmann says that, in practice, it is more lucrative for owners to keep (and eventually sell) the dwellings as part of one of the resorts, rather than considering moving them.
The introduction of the latest Fairway Series underlines the dramatic change underway in the manufactured home industry (more commonly known these days as the land lease community industry).
Under the land lease model, seniors purchase their own dwelling and then rent the land on which the dwelling is located. The benefit is that no stamp duty is payable while dwelling owners may be able to claim Commonwealth rental assistance.
The industry originally grew out of the concept of permanent residents in caravan parks, but has since flourished into purpose-built resort-like estates with new dwellings which look more like new display homes than pre-fabricated cottages.
A report by PRD Nationwide released in March 2019 found that this industry had traditionally provided an affordable housing option but was now increasingly going upmarket.
The report says it appears that these estates “are moving away from their traditional purpose as an affordable option for retirees and are now becoming a highly sought-after product for wealthier buyers and part-time workers.”
Dr Geissmann agreed there was a trend towards more upmarket resort-style living, particularly in Queensland and NSW, however he pointed out there were still many affordable dwellings available. You can view Halcyon communities on Downsizing.com.au.
“We’ve got homes that have everything to make your daughter in law or son in law jealous. There is space for golf buggies, Tesla batteries, solar panels, three bedrooms, guest room and storage,” he said.
Dr Geissmann said Halcyon lifestyle communities were more suited to seniors in the early stage of their retirement, who were active and healthy and had less need for medical care. He said residents were able to sell out of his land lease communities to pay for improved care, without paying exit fees.
“For our residents, work and looking after children are no longer their handcuffs, they now have some money for retirement, and now they are off on an adventure,” he said. “Our industry is more resortish, more fun and friendly and about enjoying yourself, while retirement villages are more about care and companionship.”
The land lease community industry appears to be undergoing growth and expansion.
In February, ASX-listed Ingenia announced that it had purchased 6.8 hectares of land to expand one of its communities near Geelong, in Victoria, and would be establishing a new park at Byron Bay, in NSW. The company also announced its revenue had increased by more than 20 per cent in the last six months of 2018.
You can view Ingenia’s properties at Downsizing.com.au.
There was similar news from Victorian-based Lifestyle Communities around the same time. It also announced in February that it had achieved a 21 per cent revenue increase over the same period and followed this in March with an announcement that it was acquiring a new site on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.
You can view Lifestyle Communities’ properties at Downsizing,com.au.
Even traditional retirement village developer Stockland announced in March that it was branching out into land lease communities in Townsville and the Sunshine Coast.