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Loneliness, Rising Property Values Fuel Regional Retirement Village Growth

Escalating property prices in the regions, coupled with widespread loneliness during the Covid-19 lockdowns, are helping fuel a boom in the retirement village industry in areas like Kerikeri and Central Otago.

Senior Trust Retirement Village Income Generator Limited, a specialist investment fund at the forefront of financing retirement villages throughout New Zealand, said today that regions have suffered from a scarcity of retirement villages due to economic reasons, but this is changing.

Executive Director John Jackson said Australia has recorded a 27 per cent growth in new customers post Covid-19, and it's not too different for New Zealand. "We see record sales, and a large chunk of that growth is now coming from the regions.

"The build cost of a premium retirement village dwelling in Auckland is the same as in the regions, but the gap in property values with places such as Wanaka and Kerikeri is closing, making these regional retirement destinations far more viable ."

Jackson said that the substantial increase in median residential prices in the regions in 2021 have seen retirement village dwellings keep in step with the local market.

Another reason for the growth is that the retirement village industry has built up a high level of trust by keeping residents safe from Covid-19. Loneliness during lockdowns also helped retirees put greater value in community.

"During the lockdown, a lot of retired people were lonely. My father, who is 92, had six children living within a 10-kilometre radius of him during the lockdown, but all we could do was stand at the letterbox and wave. It was also risky for him to do his shopping during that period.

"The loneliness of lockdown has prompted many to recognise the benefits of retirement village living, in a particular community, security and healthcare – and they don't have to go out to the shops if they don't want to."

Jackson said that as a result, the gap between provincial destinations and big-city values is narrowing and opening up increased interest in premium retirement villages in prime locations.

"The big lister retirement villages have enjoyed high levels of sales. Senior Trust supports the growth of seven villages between Kerikeri in the North and Clyde in the South that are responding to growing demand."

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