What the future of retirement property in SA looks like

Category Market News


There are about 4.5 million people in South Africa who are over the age of 60, and that number is rising rapidly as large numbers of baby boomers continue to reach retirement age, and because people are living longer than they used to.

In fact, the United Nations estimates that by 2050 - when even the youngest millennials will be getting close to retirement - there will be more than 10 million senior citizens in SA, out of a total population of 65.5 million.

Werner Scheffer, marketing manager of developer Multi Spectrum Property (MSP), says this means that there is going to be an ever-increasing demand for retirement accommodation for the foreseeable future, further fuelled by the growing downsizing trend among empty-nesters in their 50s, who now often want to move directly from their family home to their retirement property.

“However, much of this increased demand will not be for retirement accommodation in the traditional sense of an old-age home or even a cottage by the sea. Today’s middle- and upper-income seniors want many more options, from apartments and townhouses that allow them to lock-up and travel to freehold homes in lifestyle estates with plenty of sporting facilities and social activities,” he says.

“There are two elements, though, that most have in common as deciding factors in their final choice of home, and those are first-rate security provisions and guaranteed access to the health and medical care they know they are going to need as they get older.”

This is why, Scheffer says, the development of retirement villages (RVs) and estates specifically aimed at over-55s has increased in recent years. “These integrated developments not only have lifestyle amenities geared to active seniors such as gyms, heated pools, walking trails, libraries and hair and beauty salons, but increasingly also have medical consulting rooms, home-care services, dining halls, assisted-living units and frail-care facilities on site so that residents who need increasing levels of healthcare as they age don’t have to move.”

“Many RVs also have a lively social scene with interest and hobby clubs, cinema and music nights, organised shopping and holiday trips, for example, and this makes them very attractive to single or widowed people without families, so developers are increasingly including studio and one bedroom apartments along with freestanding cottages or houses in these projects.”

The demand for space in RVs is still way ahead of supply, though, and there are long waiting lists for most established complexes. In addition, Scheffer notes there are many seniors who can’t afford to buy into these developments, but are willing to rent to be able to enjoy the lifestyle and health amenities - and are reliable tenants.

Buy-to-let investors have been quick to catch on to this and are usually among the first to line up for homes as new RVs are launched. In addition, many under-50s are now buying into these developments in anticipation of their parents’ retirement, or their own, and letting out their units until they are ready to occupy them,” he says.

“This means that seniors need to act fast if they want to secure units in new RVs such as the Zevenwacht Lifestyle Village recently launched by MSP in conjunction with the renowned Zevenwacht Wine Estate near Stellenbosch.”

Set in picturesque surroundings, this estate offers four-tier security as well as three different kinds of homes for over-50s, including lifestyle houses in the Under the Vines village, retirement apartments in Merlot Village and assisted-living suites in the Vine Manor healthcare centre, which will also offer frail-care facilities.

Author: Property 24

Submitted 03 Aug 18 / Views 1601