With the Australian Capital Territory having the highest retirement village occupancy rate in Australia, developers are stepping up to deliver new Canberra-based projects which help meet the needs of downsizers.

According to the 2020 Property Council of Australia Retirement Living Census, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has a 92 per cent village occupancy rate, above the national 87 per cent occupancy rate.

If current trends continue, the number of seniors in Canberra will increase from 53,000 in 2018 to reach 120,000 by 2050, creating a desperate need for more retirement living options.

ACT Property Council of Australia executive director Adina Cirson says the strong demand is driven by a quickly ageing population and a desire by locals to live within about five kilometres of where they have had their family home.

It’s a shift retirement living operators have seized on, with several new developments being built amid concerns demand is almost outpacing supply as the Canberra population ages.

Azure Village

Azure Village at Narrabundah was completed in 2019, and has 84 single and double storey two and three bedroom villas.

Eighty-eight percent of these villas have been snapped up, but a few remain, ranging from $535,000 to $710,000.

Villas at the Azure Village project
Villas at the Azure Village project

Azure Village is part of non-profit organisation Marymead, which has expanded into high quality retirement living after decades of community service.

Ninety people currently live in the village, designed with modern touches and double garages plus driveway in the three-bedroom villas.

In-home services can also be arranged. 

A deferred management fee (DMF) applies, calculated at five percent per annum, paid up to six years of occupancy.

A departure fee will only be paid if there’s a capital gain, a feature unique to Azure. Any balance left from the capital gain is evenly split. If there is no capital gain, the resident gets back their entry contribution when they leave.

The Aerie

As the Canberra retirement living market rapidly grows, people are desiring to live close to where they’ve been living.

“People really want to live within about five kilometres of where they’ve had their family homes,” ACT Property Council executive director Adina Cirson explains.

The Aerie at Narrabundah is one example of that. Its location in a desired leafy pocket in Canberra’s inner south means it is sought after by potential downsizers keen to stay close to the heart of the city, yet enjoy the comforts of a village atmosphere with resort facilities.

The Aerie will contain 92 independent two bedroom to three bedroom living units with a range of floor plans. It will be completed mid-2022.

View from the clubhouse at The Aerie retirement living project in Canberra
View from the clubhouse at The Aerie retirement living project in Canberra

More than half have been sold or reserved, with prices from $705,000 to $1.18m.

Developer Lendlease will release the final stage in mid-2021.

The completed clubhouse offers a social hub for dining and activities and there’s an indoor heated pool, gym, lounge, hairdressing salon, library and more.

It offers great views of the Kowen ranges and golf course and the site is close to the CBD.

The Aerie offers four different payment options, including a Deferred Management Fee contract, Non-Participating Contract, Prepaid Plan or Refundable Contribution.

Yarra Rossa

Centrally located in Red Hill, the new BaptistCare community Yarra Rossa, due for completion in late 2021, has been designed with sustainability top of mind, a factor it has recognised as important to its target market of over 55s living in the local area.

Yarra Rossa offers resort-style living with a range of stylish one, two and three bedroom apartments, some with studies, enjoying sweeping views of Red Hill Nature Reserve, the district or the grounds.

Sixty-eight of the 100 units remain available, ranging from $495,000 - $925,000.

Pool at the Yarra Rossa retirement living project in Canberra
Pool at the Yarra Rossa retirement living project in Canberra

The housing options are modern with features including outdoor gardens and walking tracks. 

There is a community bus, pool, gym, bowling green, outdoor barbeque area and more. There’s also a hair and beauty salon, library and outdoor chess board as well as organised activities.

The apartments are designed for easy access and navigation, so residents can remain independent for as long as possible.

They are also cost-effective to adapt if circumstances change.

BaptistCare has a long history for providing retirement living, home care and residential aged care services, with two aged care facilities minutes away. It gives Yarra Rossa residents the chance to access integrated services if they ever need extra support.

A deferred management fee applies. There are flexible options, enabling residents to adjust their ingoing contribution and deferred management fee.

Greenway Views

LDK’s $270 million Greenway Views village at Tuggeranong features over 380 apartments, plus a theatre, cafe, bar, hairdresser and gym and allied health rooms. 

According to information provided by LDK to Downsizing.com.au in February 2020, LDK does not follow the traditional deferred management fee model.

Instead, it charges incoming residents a set amount to live in the property and this amount is fully refundable when people leave. It then charges incoming residents a separate amount to fund ongoing services, known as a membership fee, which is a fixed amount for life. 

This membership fee pays for village capital works and apartment maintenance. 

It also means that care and meals are provided at cost and that the weekly village services fees do not increase above a capped amount after your move in.

Care services can either be provided to residents in their apartments, or residents do have the option to move into what is called a ‘care hub’, at no cost. 

Find out more about Greenway Views here

Comment from our CEO

Downsizing.com.au CEO 
Amanda Graham

Downsizing.com.au  CEO, Amanda Graham said each of these exciting new developments show how the property market is evolving to meet consumer demand. 

“Buyers now expect a quality build with luxury finishes, in a great lifestyle location, with flexible price points and these deliver on all fronts,” Ms Graham said. “In addition to the existing local buyers, these new developments will also be very attractive to downsizers looking for quality of life options outside the capital cities in the other States.” 

“We know that the coronavirus pandemic has driven a significant change in buyer behaviour, and that many empty nesters are now fast-tracking their downsizing plans.”

Find out more

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