The booming over 65s demographic is growing at a never before seen rate, and they’re about to face fewer and poorer housing options, according to the Property Council of Australia.
In a report commissioned by the Property Council, it was stated that state and territory governments need to “do a better job” of planning for housing for older Australians, including retirement villages.
The Retirement Living Planning Report Card, assesses states and territories on their “performance in planning for seniors housing”, with South Australia ranked first overall.
The Report Card includes four key recommendations “for reform of planning to deliver better outcomes for the housing needs of older Australians:
- Increase land availability
- Support more commercially viable developments
- Improve alignment with market needs
- Elevate retirement living to state importance in planning schemes.”
Ben Myers, Executive Director – Retirement Living at the Property Council, believes that with more than 3.7 million Australians aged 65 and over, “it’s vital that age appropriate housing options exist in all parts of our major cities to meet increased demand”.
“The Retirement Living Planning Report Card shows that our states, together with local governments, can provide a more strategic role in ensuring there is land available for forms of seniors housing, like retirement villages and other independent living communities.
“Issues such as zoning and overly restrictive height controls can inhibit the redevelopment potential of existing communities to ensure the expectations of Australian retirees are met.
“Without changes to planning policy and improved awareness at council level, seniors may find their choices limited, and be more likely to be stuck in homes that reduce their ability to stay independent and healthy.
“Retirees would benefit greatly from specific seniors housing policies and targets, to promote appropriate development, to ensure there are options available for people aged 65 and over,” said Mr Myers.
Retirement planning systems ranked by state
Kylie Newcombe, Associate Director at Urbis and author of the report card, said when it comes to scoring planning systems, “the scores are low overall with no single state standing out as an exemplar”.
“We need to switch the mindset from planning as a barrier, to planning as an enabler.
“Common hurdles to developing seniors housing are the ongoing competition for land, historic zoning and height restrictions, and a general lack of understanding of the market’s needs by authorities.
“Ideally, there would be a more flexible approach that is tailored to what seniors need and want,” said Ms Newcombe.