4 minute read

The TRUTH about downsizing communities vs retirement villages

Lifestyle Communities® Couple savings computer

As you follow the yellow brick road towards downsizing and retirement, it’s important to understand the differences between senior living communities.

While both land lease communities and retirement villages offer on- site amenities, low-maintenance accommodation and a sense of safety and security, there are some key differences.

Here’s how land lease communities and retirement villages are different…


Land lease communities like Lifestyle Communities® typically attract younger, active, independent, like-minded semi-retired and working homeowners, looking for a space that’s truly their own, who are looking to strike the perfect synergy between connection and privacy, independence and activity.

The homeowners that call land lease communities home are also typically at the beginning of their downsizing journey, looking to free up equity and unlock possibilities as they enter a post family home life.

Because land lease communities are different to retirement villages, you don’t need to be retired to make your move! While many homeowners within these communities are retired, there are still a number of individuals who work full-time, part-time, casually or are self-employed.

Retirement villages generally cater for an older age group who are further down the pathway to needing more support. The average age of people moving into a retirement village is 78 years old, while the average age of homeowners moving to Lifestyle Communities® is currently 67 years.


Both lifestyle communities and retirement villages offer a range of on-site facilities to make staying active and social easy. You’ll often find indoor swimming pools, bowling greens, gymnasiums and libraries at a range of senior living communities (but we like to think ours are a cut above the rest!).

All Lifestyle Communities® feature an impressive range of world-class amenities that make active living oh so effortless and make you feel like you’re on holiday every day. Some of the facilities you’ll find at our communities include:

  • Business centre
  • Micro-Brewery
  • Communal Boat
  • Communal Electric bikes
  • Communal electric cars
  • Doggy park
  • Indoor pool and spa
  • Gymnasium
  • Wellness centre
  • Sauna
  • Cinema
  • Tennis court
  • Pickleball court
  • Bocce or croquet lawn
  • Workshop
  • Bowling green
  • Craft and art studio
  • Function spaces
  • Dog wash


Perhaps the biggest difference between land lease communities and retirement villages is the financial model under which they operate.

Land lease communities operate under a land lease model, whereby homeowners own their home while leasing the land.

Under a retirement village model, residents often only have a license right to occupy a home, not own it.


Both retirement villages and land lease communities generally charge a Deferred Management Fee (or exit fee), which is payable when you leave the community/facility.

When you move into a retirement village, this fee can add up to around 30% of your house’s original sale price.

All Lifestyle Communities® feature an impressive range of world-class amenities that make active living oh so effortless and make you feel like you’re on holiday every day.

At Lifestyle Communities®, our Deferred Management Fee (DMF) increases by 4% each year up to 5 years, when it’s capped at 20%. We don’t ‘front-end load’ the agreements to get a higher DMF after shorter periods.

Also pay close attention to the weekly or monthly fees associated with living in a retirement village or land lease community. These will be different for each community.

For pensioners, our weekly site fee works out to be less than 25% of the Age Pension.


The legislation for land lease communities and retirement villages varies depending on the state or territory they’re located in.

Here’s a brief outline of the main differences you’ll find in these legislations:

Retirement villages:

  • You may pay stamp duty when you buy into a retirement village home, depending on the title, leasehold or licence.
  • You may keep some or all of any capital gain minus any deferred management fees.

Land lease communities:

  • In a land lease community, you own the home and pay a weekly or monthly rental on the site the building sits on. For this reason, you are not required to pay stamp duty.
  • Because you’re essentially renting the land, you may be eligible for government rental assistance; you can’t apply for rental assistance in a retirement village.
  • Both your home and land will likely increase in value over the years. As a result, if you choose to sell your home, you’ll benefit from any increases in value of the property and the land. Recent resales have seen Lifestyle Communities®’ homeowners gain up to $2,800 per day in value.

If you’re looking to downsize to a friendly and vibrant community of like-minded people, with access to a range of incredible amenities, then we think living at a downsizing community, like Lifestyle Communities®, could be perfect for you!

And don’t just take our word for it – our homeowner surveys show that 95% of our homeowners are prepared to recommend Lifestyle Communities® to friends and family. Also, 52% of all our new home sales are as a result of a referral by satisfied existing homeowners.

An important point to remember is that no two communities are the same, so we recommend researching and visiting your local communities before deciding which one’s the perfect spot for you.

Most importantly: live your life to the fullest no matter your age! Take care of your physical and mental health, stay open-minded, pick up new hobbies or follow your interests and socialise with the people that are close to you and we are certain you’ll be ready for retirement and beyond. Learn more about our purpose, mission and values or get in touch with us.