Retirement living operators are creating jobs and new buyer opportunities by forging ahead with the construction of new projects, in defiance of coronavirus-related economic concerns.

The construction activity is concentrated in Queensland, although other projects are underway across the rest of Australia.

Aura holds ground-breaking ceremony

On 8 July, Aura Holdings held a ground-breaking ceremony for its Somerset Indooroopilly project in Brisbane’s inner-west. 

Due to be completed in late 2021, this golf course estate project includes 80 two and three-bedroom apartments or four penthouses set across four low-rise buildings.

The project forms part of a pipeline of $200 million of construction projects being undertaken by Aura Holdings across six projects in Brisbane, Toowoomba, and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. 

Aura director Tim Russell said the COVID-19 crisis had strengthened the value proposition of retirement living, particularly among people living in their large, high-maintenance family homes. 

“Our residents have expressed their great satisfaction and appreciation of the support they received during the health crisis while many were able to live comfortably with their immediate needs met in their own apartments supported by their village managers, other staff and fellow residents,’’ he said.

“At our villages, all the maintenance will be taken care of so residents can just enjoy their independent, relaxed lifestyle with support on hand if needed.’’

Strong sales and construction activity for Halcyon

Meanwhile, land lease community operator Halcyon has reported strong sales and increased construction activity across three of its communities in South-East Queensland.

Halcyon reported that, at an event held on 16 July, 15 out of 23 homes were sold in a new release stage at its B by Halcyon community at Buderim.

The release features Halcyon’s new two-storey Daintree home, which includes a lift and a four car garage for retirees who need space.

Among the 15 homes sold, three out of four of the two-storey Daintree homes which are priced between $859,000 and $879,000 were snapped up as well as three out of four of the lakefront homes, which range between $859,000 to $929,000.

Separately, Halcyon said buyers were out in force to snap up one of the 21 newest home sites at Halcyon Greens at Pimpama on the Gold Coast.

“We’ve increased our build rate from our COVID-19 levels and are moving forward with confidence on our two new communities B by Halcyon in Buderim and Halcyon Rise in Logan Reserve, as well as Stage 4 of Halcyon Greens in Pimpama,” said Halcyon Managing Director Dr Bevan Geissman. 

“We all watched and waited to see the impact isolation had, and we are now moving full-steam ahead with our construction activity in order to meet demand, as well as ensuring we keep our Halcyon team, hundreds of local contractors and suppliers working during these unusual times.

“We have had a lot of enquiries and interest from people looking to make the move into one of our lifestyle communities.

“Anecdotally we are finding that many of them may have been on the fence, but the COVID-19 experience has been the catalyst for them to take action.”

High levels of industry confience

In addition, a Property Council of Australia’s survey released on 16 July showed that the retirement living sector had a relatively high level of industry confidence, compared to other sectors. 

The survey that out of six property sectors, the retirement living sector had the second highest levels of confidence in relation to capital growth and construction activity. is aware of construction activity also taking place on the following projects:

Queensland construction activity

  • The first stage of Aura’s The Pavilion North Kirra is under construction with 75 per cent of apartments and penthouses sold. Stage two has been fast-tracked and is awaiting council approval. 
  • Stage three of Aura’s Kingsford Terrace Corinda is under construction for the Mitchell building with its 10 spacious apartments – already nine have sold. Construction by Hutchinson Builders is due to be completed early 2021. 
  • The final stage of Aura’s The Avenue Maroochydore is under construction and due for completion at the end of the year. An average sale of one apartment a week has continued during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Construction is underway at Aura’s Ninth Middle Ridge at the Toowoomba Golf Club, with the project expected to be occupied by September 2021.
  • Around 40 of the independent living apartments by RetireAustralia at the Verge at Burleigh G.C are anticipated for completion in early 2021.
  • Reside Communities is pressing ahead with construction of new villas at its Samford Grove village in Brisbane and says buyers may be eligible for the Australian Government’s $25,000 HomeBuilder grant.

Rest of Australia

  • The first of 42 villas are currently under construction by Living Choice at its Flagstaff Hill project in Adelaide
  • 34 two and three bedroom independent retirement living homes are due for completion in late 2020 at the Rose by Moran village in northern Sydney
  • A total of 101 apartments, which feature either two, two plus study or three bedrooms, along with community facilities are expected to be completed by mid-2021 at Uniting’s Bowden Brae project at northern Sydney.
  • Construction of the first stage of the Uniting Westmead project is due to be completed by the end of 2020.
  • A total of 25 villas have been built at the La Dimora Retirement Resort at Wallan outside of Melbourne, with the first residents occupying their homes in November 2019. Construction on another 21 villas is due to start in coming months.  
  • 54 homes have now been completed and another 26 are under construction at Lifestyle Kaduna Park at Officer South