When it comes to retirement villages, the future is looking up - literally. 

According to the Property Council of Australia’s 2021 Retirement Living Census, retirement villages increasingly contain multi-storey buildings. It reports that 41 per cent of new villages in 2020-21 being classed as ‘vertical’ in nature, compared to 33 per cent in 2020.

The trend is hardly surprising. 

With the high cost of land in urban centres, retirement living developments become more financially viable when you construct towers and therefore increase apartment yield.

Building denser and taller retirement villages also makes it more cost-efficient for village developers to construct the amenities increasingly sought by incoming residents, such as gyms, pools, health and beauty salons and cinemas.

In addition, retirees are increasingly looking to be near bustling and vibrant urban villages, where they can access restaurants, shopping and arts and cultural opportunities. 

Land in and around these centres is often set aside for higher density living, which can be utilised by retirement village developers.

Given the strong trend towards vertical retirement villages, we thought we would conduct an analysis of 13 higher-density projects which are currently under construction or recently-built.

The good news is that, while some of the projects contain expensive multi-million dollar apartments, others offer units for less than $300,000.

New South Wales

Waterfront (Woolooware, Southern Sydney)

Anglicare’s five-storey Waterfront project will include 63 premium waterfront apartments across two buildings with open plan layouts, space for entertaining and sweeping water views. 

Built in partnership with Growthbuilt, the development is due for completion in 2023, and will feature new community spaces, including extensive landscaping and a café for future residents and their families to enjoy.

Residents will also have access to a theatre, salon, gym, pool, spa, restaurants, café, library and chapel.

The Waterfront will form part of the Woolooware Shores complex, which launched in 2006 is currently home to hundreds of residents and has residential aged care homes, Goodhew Gardens and Bay Breeze onsite for ‘aging in place’.

In October last year, a Sutherland Shire couple purchased one the project’s penthouse apartments for $4.4 million, two years ahead of its completion. The 300 square metre three-bedroom penthouse will have two bathrooms, a powder room, an entertainers kitchen with butler’s pantry, an oversized living area and an internal laundry.

The Royce (Penrith, Western Sydney)

Developed by Tulich Family Communities in conjunction with architects Calder Flower, Penrith’s The Royce project opened in 2019 and contains 130 independent living retirement units and 128 aged care beds.

The six-storey apartment project is located on Mulgoa Rd, on a former section of the Panthers rugby league club. Independent living apartments are currently advertised for sale between $595,000 and $820,000. 

The Royce retirement living project at Penrith

It’s named after former premiership-winning Penrith hooker Royce Simmons, who also lives at the project (and is its ambassador).

The project was also named winner of the retirement living category at the 2021 UDIA NSW Crown Group Awards for Excellence.

“We’ve worked very hard to ensure The Royce integrates with the local community and were happy to see the award judges recognised this,” Tulich Director Bianca Tulich said.

“For instance, our cafe is open to the public and has an internationally-known chef, Ross Dobson. We’ve also got our own hair and beauty salon by a local lady who is well known in the community, and that’s also open to members of the public.”

Minto Gardens (Minto, Macarthur region in Sydney)

Anglicare’s Minto Gardens project contains 110 newly-completed retirement apartments along with a residential aged care home, Porter Lodge. 

Three of the project’s four-storey apartment buildings also feature their own community rooms, along with a separate community building. The village features a hair salon, cafe, chapel services and a community hub with lounge, library, piano and internet access. 

Anglicare's Minto Gardens retirement living project

Located just minutes from Minto Marketplace, the project is set on a 5.88 hectare former industrial site which contains natural bushland and grassed areas.

The Minto Gardens project has been carefully designed to ensure this leafy, green landscape continues to make its mark between six new retirement living apartment buildings.

Anglicare has also used this abundant open space to install plenty of outdoor activity spaces, including covered barbecue areas and a new playground for the grandkids, seniors’ gym park, community garden and off-leash dog park.

For a limited time, home prices have been reduced by 15 per cent and start at $238,500.

FIND OUT MORE: First reveal: Inside the newly-built Sydney village redefining modern, healthy retirement living 

Uniting Park Meadows (Westmead, Western Sydney)

The Uniting Park Meadows project opened in 2020 and has 70 retirement village apartments, containing either one, two or three bedrooms (some also have study areas). 

These apartments are positioned on the eastern, or Parramatta Park, side of the development project. In fact, around 18 of the apartments look over the park itself, with some higher level apartments enjoying views to the Parramatta CBD and even the Sydney CBD skyline. Apartments start at $660,000.

Uniting's Park Meadows project is located right next to Parramatta Park

In addition, a new 114-bed dedicated residential aged care facility is located at the western wing of the project. The presence of this facility will allow retirement living residents to age-in-place as their care needs increase, including allowing one partner to move into care while the other partner stays nearby in an apartment.

The project also has its own café, salon, seniors gym, chapel, dedicated clubroom, outdoor entertainment and BBQ facilities. These shared spaces make for natural connections with neighbours and locals, while the central village green is the perfect place to spend time with family and friends, children and grandchildren.

The project is also unique in that it has a child care centre at its ground floor.

FIND OUT MORE: First tour inside Sydney retirement living project next to an 85 hectare green oasis

Rooty Hill Village (Rooty Hill, Western Sydney)

Anglicare’s Rooty Hill Village is located alongside Rooty Hill train station in Western Sydney, making it easy to access destinations such as the Penrith, Blacktown and Parramatta CBDs.

The village, which opened in 2019, is also unique among retirement villages in that it provides a variety of shops and services, available to village residents and the general public.

Anglicare's Rooty Hill village project

The shops are located along Rooty Hill Road South, opposite a range of existing shops.

The project provides independent retirement living apartments in buildings up to four storeys, access to home care services and a residential aged care home. 

It also includes a multi-purpose community centre for resident activities and functions, an open green area with children’s playground, BBQ facilities and landscaped gardens.

For a limited time, home prices have been reduced by 15 per cent and start at $219,600.

Uniting Bowden Brae (Normanhurst, Northern Sydney)

In March 2022, Uniting Bowden Brae opened its second and final stage, including dozens of new apartments and a seniors gym designed for over 60s.

With 140 apartments now in place across the complex, Bowden Brae is one of the largest, contemporary independent living developments by Uniting.  

It is also in line with the new trend towards apartment-style retirement living sweeping Australia.

Keith Morgan, Uniting’s village services head, said residents were beginning to settle into their new homes and enjoy the amenities on offer. 

A new apartment at Uniting Bowden Brae

These include pet friendly spaces and a swimming pool, BBQ area, clubroom, seniors’ gym, café, hair salon and chapel. There’s also a playground for residents to enjoy with their grandkids.

“Our Bowden Brae seniors gym features resident physiologists who tailor personalised exercise plans for residents to keep them active and moving freely,” Mr Morgan said.

“The village also offers assisted living services so our residents continue to enjoy the good life with services such as cleaning of their homes, preparation of meals and assistance with hobbies.”

The completed Uniting Bowden Brae project

Two-bedroom apartments are selling from $840,000, two bedrooms and a study nook from $940,000 and three bedrooms from $1.09 million. All apartments have lift access.

Uniting is providing new residents with a complimentary relocation service until 31 March 2022 if a new contract is requested by that date.

FIND OUT MORE: Leafy environment and community vibe attracting residents to Uniting Bowden Brae

Queensland

Aveo Carindale (Carindale, Brisbane)

Construction work is now underway on the third stage of  Aveo Carindale, south-eastern Brisbane’s largest retirement community.

The project’s third stage will deliver 100 independent living apartments, including one, two and three bedroom units, across nine residential levels of a 10-storey building. 

Some apartments will provide uninterrupted views across Quota Park.

Aveo Carindale stage three which is currently under construction

Aveo Carindale sits on almost three hectares of land around 16 kms south of Brisbane’s CBD.

Once the six-stage $220+ million development is complete, the community will deliver 431 independent living apartments and residential aged care facilities.

Tony Randello, Chief Executive Officer said: “Aveo Carindale is currently home to 154 residents, and provides a great sense of community and belonging”. 

Aveo Carindale has a restaurant, bar, gymnasium, outdoor swimming pool, movie theatre, library, games room, activity room and a hair and beauty salon.

Aveo is currently accepting registrations of interest for stage three apartments, although has not released pricing at this time.

Completion of stage three is anticipated by July 2023, with the final stage due to be completed by 2029.

St Luke’s Green (Wolloongabba, Brisbane)

St Luke’s Green is an integrated senior’s village which is home to 61 independent living retirement apartments and a 61 suite aged care home surrounding the restored St Luke’s Church at Woolloongabba, Brisbane.

This project by Greengate won a design excellence award at the Property Council of Australia’s 2017 National Retirement Living Awards, in recognition of its incorporation of innovation around a historic church.

The St Lukes Green project in Brisbane

According to a Greengate spokeswoman, the heritage-listed Spanish Mission-style church - which dates back to the early 20th century - continues to be used by a Catholic parish and plays a vitally important role in the village. One bedroom apartments start from $455,000.

FIND OUT MORE: Discover the friendly faces in this unique Brisbane retirement community set around a historic church

Bernborough Ascot (Doomben, Brisbane)

In March 2022, Bernborough Ascot - dubbed as Australia’s first over 55’s vertical retirement community built on a racecourse - opened its newly designed two-bedroom display apartment.

When completed, Lendlease’s Bernborough Ascot will feature 300 independent living apartments and penthouse style homes, and lifestyle amenities including a village green, health and wellness studio with a pool, spa, gymnasium and consulting rooms, a rooftop terrace, restaurant, and outdoor dining areas. 

The project’s first stage, a seven-storey building containing 69 one, two and three-bedroom apartments, and communal facilities, opened in late 2020.

Bernborough Ascot has a unique location - it’s on a 2.3 hectare site directly alongside the home straight corner of Brisbane’s premiere racecourse, Doomben. 

The completed first stage of the Bernborough Ascot project

Apartments have a range of stunning views, including over the wide open spaces of the racecourse, city skyline and mountains. 

Resident facilities available in Fig Tree House include a clubhouse (with café, bar and BBQ), library, arts studio and theatre. 

Two and three-bedroom apartments are currently available, starting from $655,000. 

FIND OUT MORE: Meet the residents who've downsized to luxury retirement living alongside a Brisbane racecourse

Village Manly (Manly, Brisbane)

A 150-year-old heritage home will form the centrepiece of a $70 million ‘vertical village’ retirement living project being built alongside Brisbane’s Moreton Bay.

The Village retirement living group has launched its new project at Manly, in Brisbane’s coastal eastern suburbs.

Construction of the project’s first 46 apartments began in September 2021. Two-bedroom apartments start from $490,000, with three-bedroom apartments starting from $630,000.

Artist's impression of the Village Manly project

The Village Manly is being developed in partnership with Anglicare Southern Queensland, adjacent to Anglicare’s existing residential aged care facility, the EM Tooth Memorial Home. 

The new independent living retirement units will be framed around the heritage listed Lota House, which forms part of the aged care facility.

Lota House, a substantial two-storeyed rendered brick residence, was first constructed in 1865-66 for Irish born Queensland early settler and politician, William Duckett White and his wife, Jane. It's the oldest surviving residence in the Manly area.

“The Village Manly will deliver an unprecedented level of luxury for retirees seeking to downsize in the area they love,” says The Village Retirement Group Managing Director, Justin Harrison. 

Apartments in the project’s first stage will be located in two four-storey buildings, each containing 23 dwellings.

Stage 2 of the project will incorporate communal facilities for residents, including a café/restaurant, library, arts & craft room, communal alfresco BBQ area, bowls green, state of the art senior’s gym, yoga/dance area, deluxe cinema, heated pool, beauty & hair salon, medical & allied health suite, club lounge and billiards room. 

Victoria

Ardency Kennedy Place (Richmond, Melbourne)

The Nine Network’s former inner-Melbourne studio is being transformed by Lendlease into the luxurious Ardency Kennedy Place retirement living project.

Named after Graham Kennedy, known as The King of Australian television, Ardency Kennedy Place will comprise 116 one, two and three bedroom spacious apartments across nine levels, along with three bedroom penthouses with stunning views.

Artist's impression of Lendlease's Ardency Kennedy Place project

Prices start at $725,000 for one bedroom apartments.

The project will include a full suite of facilities, including a 30-seat cinema, library, rooftop vegetable garden and function and activity spaces. 

A luxurious wellness centre will encompass an indoor pool, gym and yoga and pilates rooms. 

On-site health and beauty services along with a 12-hour daily concierge service, 24- hour emergency call button and room service are also planned. Private transport, including a minibus, will operate daily. 

Architecturally speaking, the design draws inspiration from the iconic Federation-era red brick of the neighbouring and infamous Bendigo Street, while paying homage to the site’s heritage and former Nine Network studio’s colourful past. 

Construction is expected to be completed in late 2022. 

The Healey (Moorabbin, Melbourne)

The Healey is a five-level luxury retirement living project featuring 55 apartments and located 15 km south-east of Melbourne's CBD.

The apartments feature spacious light-filled open plan living areas, Miele appliances, stone benchtops and blum pantry systems. 

All apartments also include keyless entry and voice activated features including 24/7 emergency call system.

The Healey retirement living project in Melbourne

The project’s clubhouse facilities include a gold-class style cinema, library, formal lounge, casual dining room, bar, and the courtyard with BBQ and pizza oven for outdoor entertaining.

The Healey is owned and managed by Springwood Living Group which has had extensive experience in managing and developing retirement villages across Australia. 

South Australia

Flagstaff Hill (Adelaide)

Living Choice’s Flagstaff Hill is South Australia’s first fully integrated golf course/retirement community, which is being constructed on the grounds of the Flagstaff Hill Golf Club.

Construction is well underway on the project’s first two stages, comprising 42 spacious villas, 17 luxury apartments and a new clubhouse.

The final stage of apartments at Living Choice's Flagstaff Hill project

These are being built on part of the golf club’s land along Memford Way. The golf club is located over the road from the Flagstaff Hill Shopping Centre and medical facilities.

The project’s third and final stage will include 90 one, two and three-bedroom apartments.

The new multi-million dollar clubhouse will include a wide range of facilities.

These include an outdoor alfresco dining area, an indoor dining-room with dance floor and stage, a members’ lounge and bar, two golf simulators, a new Pro Shop, heated swimming pool, gymnasium and meeting room.

Find out more 

Learn about the different downsizing options on offer, and insider tips on making the move, in our just-released Ultimate Guide to Downsizing 2022.