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COVID-19 drives interest in retirement living

Many have used the term ‘unprecedented’ when describing the impact of COVID-19. One unexpected turn has seen increased values in regional areas and a surge of interest in retirement communities.

Property demand

Online enquiries on retirement and downsizing websites have significantly increased, particularly in regional areas.

According to retirement property site, Downsizing.com.au, there isn’t one Sydney suburb in the top ten most searched suburbs since COVID-19 hit.

Lifestyle demand

The trend towards regional areas and increased interest in retirement communities has a direct correlation to COVID-19. Underlying motivations include a desire for more social connection, a safe and secure lifestyle, difficulty in maintaining a large family home and accessing support to maintain an independent lifestyle.

Chris Baynes, regular writer and commentator on the retirement sector, conducted a 2020 National Resident Survey. He states that the results of the research show COVID-19 has brought out the best in the retirement living sector.  The survey revealed that retirement communities are the top rated sector for customer satisfaction in Australia.

“This indicates the great work done by village managers on the ground that have kept villages safe in the height of COVID.” Baynes said.

The research found that 37% of new buyers want a sense of community, compared to just 14% before the pandemic. 33% of people considering a move to a village would do so because of lack of support at home or family pressure, compared to 3% pre-COVID.

Many heartening stories have emerged of village support for residents during COVID – from resident driveway Happy Hours to village managers supporting residents throughout the pandemic.

Ben Myers Executive Director of the Retirement Living Council of Australia recalls many such examples as to how wonderful retirement communities have been during the pandemic.

“I can’t think of a safer place to live,” he said