Workers over the age of 55 will be eligible for cut-price rent in three new developments, which represent a new approach to house the rising number of older Australians who are trying to live on a moderate income.

During September, not-for-profit provider BaptistCare, with funding support from the NSW Government, opened a new 79-unit development at Five Dock, in Sydney’s inner-west.

Of the 79 units, 31 will be set aside for affordable housing for people who are over the age of 55 and still working, or who are self-funded retirees, and have a low to moderate income and don’t own their own home. Some of the apartments have city or water views.

Interior of one of the BaptistCare Five Dock apartments

The Kitty Doyle Apartments are located in the heart of Five Dock, close to public transport, shops, a major hospital and medical centres.  

These apartments will have rent set at 75 per cent of the market price. By setting the rent at this level, it may allow someone who was facing being forced out of the inner-west, due to rising rents, to be able to stay in the region.

The other 48 apartments will be for seniors who are eligible for social housing, which includes people reliant on government benefits.

In early October, BaptistCare will open a separate 122-dwelling project at Elderslie in Sydney’s south-west, which will have 26 villas set aside for working seniors. A third development is being planned at Carlingford.

BaptistCare Housing & Retirement Living general manager Mike Furner said it was desirable for projects to have a “good healthy mix” of tenants, including both people who are working and those on the pension or other benefits. 

Mr Furner said the housing would also help respond to the growing number of Sydney residents who are in the workforce, but who are having difficulty finding affordable private rental accommodation.

The three Sydney projects represent the first time that BaptistCare has sought to provide affordable housing for working seniors.

New later life rental models

The BaptistCare projects are a further illustration of the increased role of innovative new rental models to help house over 50s.

This is hardly surprising, given that the percentage of Australians aged over 65 who are renters is set to increase from nine per cent in 2016 to 11 per cent in 2031. 

This means that, in 2031, there will be 543,433 renters in this age bracket, an increase of 264,405 from 2016. 

New player Calyptus has recently launched a number of affordable co-living projects for retirees in south-east Queensland.

Mirvac has also recently launched its rental-only Liv Indigo project at Sydney Olympic Park, which is expected to be attractive to over 50s on a higher income or with substantial savings.

In additional, residential land lease communities - which are based on a rental model - continue to grow in popularity.