Retirement Locations

Entrants into Australian retirement communities have displayed a preference to remain in proximity to their family home and accessible to their family, friends, and trusted medical practitioners. Relocation interstate for instance, is more often the result of a desire to be near children and family who may themselves have moved interstate previously, rather than the desire for a ‘sea change’ or ‘tree change’ experience.A rough rule of thumb is that approximately 70% of a retirement community’s residents will have previously resided within 10-15km of the complex.

As a rule, retirees who currently own their own home and live near a retirement village (or in an area with a similar residential property price level) should have enough money to purchase a unit in that retirement complex.

Unfortunately the likelihood of remaining in your existing suburb is becoming harder as urban sprawl in our cities increases the cost of land and reduces the viability of new retirement living projects. It is now unlikely that you will find new developments close to major population centres and those that do get built are likely to be in the upper end of the cost range. Existing villages within population centres are usually older-style developments that were built in the 70’s or 80’s – it is a trade-off between being centrally located or living in a new development. In the future it is likely that we will see more high-rise apartment-style retirement complexes in population centres, as this style of development is a more efficient use of limited land space and people are becoming more comfortable with apartment-style living.

Your Retirement Lifestyle

When deciding where to retire, you should take some time to consider the following:

  • Climate, in both summer and winter
  • Lifestyle, such as country living, the hinterland ranges or beachside
  • Proximity to airports ┬áretirees are renowned as frequent travellers!
  • Proximity to family
  • Local Clubs and Associations
  • What activities and hobbies you plan to pursue in your leisure time, and what impacts the destination may have on these

Other useful links about lifestyle:

Retire Abroad

Have you considered living overseas?

In the US and Europe it is becoming increasingly popular for retirees to pack up their sav ings and possessions and retire to another country. There are many benefits of doing this:

  • Better climate
  • Better lifestyle and quality of life
  • Better “bang for your buck” with cheaper currencies
  • Cheaper cost of living
  • Better health care options

For Australians and New Zealanders, moving to Asia is a viable option worth serious consideration: Our dollar is stronger than most Asian currencies, giving you an excellent rate of conversion. Cost of living is significantly cheaper – in Thailand for example, you could live quite well on A$10-20 per day. Better still, the provision of medical and health services is now world class in many population centres of Asia, particularly when compared with the dysfunctional health systems of Queensland and New South Wales! This fact alone has seen the phenomenal rise of “medical tourism”, where people from developed nations such as Australia, the US and UK now travel to Asia to have expensive medical, dental or plastic surgery work done in first class facilities with western-educated doctors at a tenth of the price.

Malaysia is a stand-out destination for retirees and they even have an official government program (Malaysia My Second Home) designed to encourage foreigners to emigrate.

You may even be able to continue receiving your Australian pension while living overseas!

Retirement Village Research

Before starting your research we recommend that you first get clear about what you are looking for and prioritise those features which are most important to you. It can be hard to think of everything and your list will evolve as you conduct your research and see what is available. To get you started, we have compiled a list which is the result of our research and discussions with many retirees. This list is comprehensive and provides you with the ability to prioritise and distinguish between the “must haves” and the “nice to haves”.

Choosing a Retirement Village

This is where it can get messy! Before considering a village you need to:

  • Figure out your spending limit
  • Determine your preferred locations
  • Decide which retirement unit purchase arrangement is most suitable to your desired financial outcome on exit
  • Decide on the services and facilities you “must have” vs those which are “nice to have”

If you can answer the above questions you are ready to start looking at specific villages!

Start your research by getting the names and addresses of all the retirement complexes in your preferred locations. It would be unusual to find in excess of ten villages in location, so we recommend that you at least do a “drive-by” of every complex. Based on your preference list, try and cull those villages that don’t meet your criteria for whatever reason. It is best to conclude your research with a minimum of two villages to improve your bargaining position with the sales agents.

Other factors to consider:

  • Village Operator – who is the village operator? Is it a large firm or a small owner/operator?
  • Village Owner – Is the village owner a dedicated retirement village operator or are they a property developer looking to make a quick buck?
  • Not for Profit or Profit – is it better to be in a village run by “Not for Profit” or “For Profit” organisations?
  • Church Groups – can you reside in a village run by a church group if you don’t embrace their faith?
  • Is it an accredited retirement village?
  • Is it a registered retirement village?


Without giving away all of our secrets for nothing, here are a couple of tips for you to consider:

  • Always check the average age of the residents of the village you are interested in buying into. Ideally you want an average age very similar to your own.
  • Don’t necessarily be put off by older-style villages if you prefer something new. There is no reason why you cannot buy into an older village and refurbish your unit to a better standard. Most villages will only refurbish their units to a very basic standard. It can be extremely cost effective to buy into older villages at a significantly cheaper price and spend around $20,000 on new, good quality carpets, paint and kitchen & bathroom joinery. This exercise will also serve to underpin your capital growth and re-sale prospects.