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Planning for the future

RETIREMENT developments require careful planning to ensure sales success.

Some developers are even going so far as to involve prospective residents at the design and planning stage, according to one industry source.

“There is no one formula for the needs of retirees over the next 40 years in Australia as the population ages,” he said.

“Increasing awareness of health issues and the increased awareness of the benefits of healthy living, nutrition and exercise have led to a population that can expect to live longer.

“Some over-55 developments are actually allowing them [residents] to have some input into how they are developed.”

There are also price sensitivities with retirement developments, particularly in areas where the high cost of land increases the cost of individual units.

BGC Construction general manager Gerry Forde said the location of a retirement village would determine the price of the unit.

“The price of the land deter-mines that; if they’ve [the dev-eloper] paid too much it’s the marketing that could be problematic,” he said.

BGC has almost completed a new retirement village for the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) in Mandurah.

In this development, BGC has designed and built the village on behalf of the RSL, which will now sell lifetime leases on the units.

It’s a cost-effective way for a not-for-profit organisation to provide cost effective retirement housing, and make some money in the process.

“It’s a small development for the RSL,” Mr Forde said.

“The RSL had land, which was just sitting there. We took it to the council and got a development approval to build units.

“We’ve got a system for pulling deals together and they’re providing cost-effective retirement units and gaining some income.

A retirement development on the site of the former Swanbourne Hotel has sat vacant since its completion almost two years ago.

The development is owned by Sydney-based Arton Retirement Villages.

A spokesperson from Arton Retirement Villages wasn’t available to speak to WA Business News about the future of the development.

However, Arton has struck a deal with Sydney-based Prime-life Corporation to market the units.

The units in the Swanbourne development were originally

on the market for between $320,000 and $420,000.

Primelife believes that, with some minor adjustments to the building, a market exists for the units within this original price range. On a similar site in nearby Shenton Park, Shenton Village manager Peter Norris has just started marketing the village, which is owned by a group of local investors.

The development includes a licensed cafe and the owners of the development plan to apply for a special facilities licence in the future, which would allow people to consume alcohol without ordering any food.

The units in this development are priced between $285,000 and $445,000 with ongoing maintenance fees of between $78 and $102 a week.

Mr Norris said four of the apartments had already been sold and the open day held earlier in the month had attracted considerable interest.

Although there are similarities with the development in Swanbourne, Mr Norris said the design of the two buildings set them apart.

“The difference between them is that [in Swanbourne] they’ve knocked down the hotel and only utilised the site,” he said.

“In my personal opinion the design just isn’t what people are looking for.”

With big numbers headed for retirement the baby boomers generation is focused on safe investment, an industry source said.

For some investors the life-time lease of a unit in a development doesn’t add up when they can afford to stay in their own home.

“Property has always had an implied value,” he said

“With a significant part of the population expected to live longer the traditional value associated with a retirement village constantly needs re-assessing.”

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