Lifestyle Communities
9 minute read

What is an over 50 community and is it worth the investment?

Lifestyle Ocean grove walking entrance

If you’re ready to chase the relaxation and freedom of retired life, then there’s a good chance downsizing your home is on your to-do list. With so many choices of how and where to downsize to, considering if an over 50 community is right for you is a good first step. So let’s figure out which lifestyle option is your match made in retiree heaven.

What is an over 50 community?

An over 50 community is any purpose-built community that exclusively caters to people over the age of 50, meaning it’s a community full of people your age and on your wavelength. From the traditional retirement village model, to the modern resort-style living model (hey, that’s us!), an over 50 community might just be the perfect place for you.

These communities will usually offer exclusive amenities, onsite staff, and socialization opportunities, and choosing the right over 50 option for you will come down to what kind of lifestyle you’re after.


What are the different types of over 50 communities?

Retirement Village
If you’re looking to slow down and rest up, you may feel right at home in a retirement village. They often have a strong sense of community, and are designed for ageing well. The villages are designed for retirees who are still entirely independent, but the houses may have wider hallways, no stairs, or be adaptable for any mobility devices. Whilst available for over 50’s, the typical entry age for a retirement village in Australia is between 65 - 75. Some retirement villages may offer additional services at an extra cost, such as meals, cleaning, and personal services, and can help you arrange home care or personal care services as you age.


Lifestyle Community
Our modern take on what life post-retirement should be, Lifestyle Communities are for retirees (and pre-retirees!) who are ready to really live their best lives. This resort lifestyle provides all the best bits we love when we’re on holidays, like pools, spas, sporting areas, luxury living, and beautiful surroundings, in a neighbourhood full of people like you. This lifestyle is perfect for people who want to be part of a buzzing community, but who also want the freedom and privacy of having an independent home. With social clubs and region specific benefits, finding somewhere that ticks your boxes could be just a sea change or tree change away. This style of community is best for people who want to find the perfect pair of relaxation and adventure.

Independent living apartments

Ideal for retirees seeking peace of mind as they age, independent living communities technically fall into the over 50 community category and are not a form of aged care, although they do offer low levels of personal and medical care. Independent living can be the right fit for people who no longer feel comfortable living alone, or who may have an underlying medical condition that isn’t actively affecting their day-to-day, but concerns them. Independent living apartments are usually set in an apartment block style, with carers and support available, along with access to transport, meals, and activities.



Wait - so whats the difference between a retirement village and a Lifestyle Community?

There are a few key differences between the traditional retirement village model and the Lifestyle Community model that can help you figure out which is right for you.

The legal stuff
The type of legislation both home types fall under is different in every state and territory. The main difference will lie in the loan, license, or lease agreement. In retirement villages, the agreement is over the building. In Independent Living or Aged Care, you pay for the room in either a rental style payment or a lump sum. In a Lifestyle Community, you own the home and rent the land it sits on under a 90 year lease. Both assets grow in value as time passes. You’re welcome to add improvements to your home, such as a deck, to add value, and as our properties are located in strong growth areas, the value of the lease increases as the land value increases, putting you in a strong financial position when you come to see your home. The land lease also means the front gardens and communal areas are maintained by our friendly staff, protecting the value of your investment.

The lifestyle stuff
What kind of lifestyle do you want? Whether you’re after a slower pace and lazy days reading in the garden, or chasing a big, busy life of adventures and excitement, there’s a community for you. Retirement villages will offer a variety of activities, such as bingo, bocce, or bowling. These may be scheduled or available ad hoc. A Lifestyle Community will offer a scope of luxe resort amenities, like pools, sporting areas, and cinemas on-site, along with regional specific benefits, like community boats for coastal areas, or workshops in certain communities. All over 50 living options will offer more of a built-in sense of community than downsizing solo does, whilst still ensuring space and privacy, making these living options perfect for social butterflies and homebody caterpillars alike.

The financial stuff
Buying into a retirement village is a similar process to buying a house independently, plus some extra ongoing fees for maintenance and services. There may be entry capital and recurring payments, ongoing fees, exit fees, and other services you have to pay for out of pocket. This fee schedule can be complicated and confusing. As a rough benchmark, the cost of buying into a retirement village is around 80% of a similar home outside of the village, so you normally end up with some extra funds from the selling of your home. It is important to note that it’s not uncommon for the exit fee cost to be up to 40% of the value of your village home.

Land ahoy! Land lease communities such as Lifestyle Communities are a relatively new, super affordable living option for people over 50. In fact, Lifestyle Communities are the only land lease over 50s living option in Victoria! They’re a transparent and affordable choice, and this model comes with many financial benefits, without the complications and costs of Retirement Villages. Land lease options mean you own the physical house on the land, but are ‘leasing’ the land that it’s on, so if you’re on any sort of pension, you can still be eligible for Federal Government rental assistance. Along with bringing down the actual cost of the houses, this model also means you pay no entrance fees, no stamp duty, no exit fees, and no council rates. That’s a lot more money in your pocket! Your insurance will also be cheaper, with the added security of a gated community and on-site security presence. On top of that, if you choose Lifestyle Communities as your land lease option, you’ll save even more money, because all Lifestyle homes are built with sustainable appliances, for a happier earth and a happier bank account. Smiles all round!

What are the pros and cons of an over 50s community?

Pros

Cheaper than downsizing independently
Purchasing into an over 50 community will help minimise the life costs you’re used to paying. Water usage and rates, electricity, gas, council rates, your mortgage, household insurance, home maintenance, repairs or renovations and garden upkeep. Phew. That’s a lot of money you could be putting towards hobbies and holidays.

Less maintenance
An over 50 community will look after communal areas for you, so you can enjoy beautiful spaces and show-off-worthy amenities without ever having to maintain them yourself. In a Lifestyle Community, our garden team will also maintain your front yard, so you can say goodbye to weeding and hello to more time for relaxing in the spa, or working on your pickleball game.


Additional security
Village or Community life gives an extra layer of security. Both living models will not have local traffic cutting through, meaning there’s less access to your house. With on-site staff, and a tight knit community, your home will be super safe. Lifestyle Communities are gated, adding a whole other level of security, so you can lock up, pile into the winnebago, and disappear on an adventure with peace of mind that your home is safe behind the gates and with on-site staff keeping an eye on it.

Sense of community
Moving into a built-in community of people in the same stage of life as you is a vibe. With everyone having similar interests and outlooks on life, it’s easy to feel right at home amongst your neighbours and new friends. Becoming a local never felt so good.

Cons

Children
Many over 50 communities have limits on how long someone underage can reside on the property. This means if you need to take long term care of, or are given custody of, a child, they may not be able to live in the community indefinitely. Short visits are allowed, but it may be worth checking with your preferred community what their long term stay rules are if you’re expecting to house a child long term.

Pets
Not all over 50 communities feel the puppy love, and may not let you bring your beloved fur babies. Lifestyle Communities do of course, because we know pets are just as much a part of the family as anyone else - we even have on-site dog washes to pamper your pooch properly, and to save you from washing the sand and mud off in your shower! But it’s important to check that wherever you choose to live, Fluffy can come too.

Restricted locations
Over 50 communities are usually located in specifically chosen areas, close to towns, beaches, nature, or shopping. This may mean you can’t find one in the exact location you want, although, with 21 incredible Lifestyle Communities location options, we wouldn’t be too worried about it.

Do over 50 communities make a good investment?

Australia has an ageing population, so if and when you move on from your over 50 community, there won’t be a shortage of people looking to snap up your place. Limiting occupants to over 50’s also means houses remain in better condition for longer. You can expect far less wear and tear than you’re used to.

In terms of the financial investment, retirement villages may have an exit fee, or may keep a percentage of any capital gains, thereby reducing the amount that you get back when you sell. It’s important to triple check your contract and ask lots of questions to avoid getting stung with a cost you weren’t expecting and ensure you feel good about the investment benefits. However, you keep the majority of capital gain from the sale of your home when you exit a land lease community such as Lifestyle Communities, with just a capped Deferred Management Fee to pay when you leave. With Lifestyle Communities being located in growth corridors, properties here see an average capital growth of 10-12% per year!

Investing in an over 50 community is not just a good financial investment, but a good investment into your lifestyle, setting you up for a comfortable, freedom-full retirement. We can hear the spa bubbles calling you now!

If you’re considering your next move, or are ready to make the jump and just need to figure out where you want to land, contact us at Lifestyle Communities and have a chat about investing in a bigger resort-style life.