Pros and Cons of Lifestyle Villages

We decided to move into our current home in a Lifestyle Village (a retirement village for people 55 and over) about three and a half years ago. We didn’t look at other Villages and didn’t do much research on the options available.

If you are considering moving into a Lifestyle Village there are a lot of things to think about. Acquiring a Lifetime Lease for our property cost about the same as purchasing a similar house in the wider community. There was a saving in that Retirement Villages are not required to pay Stamp Duty. Retirement Villages are covered in legislation through the Retirement Village Act (currently being amended).

However, there are ongoing costs on a monthly basis, similar to Strata Fees. These fees cover the operational cost of the Village. Currently there are approximately 180 homes in our gated community. Only the occupied homes contribute to the fees that pay for the overall operation of the Village.

The owners of the Village have a Board and a Chief Executive Officer. They employ a Manager to run the place on a day-to-day basis. There is also a Residents Association, elected annually by the residents, to represent the interests of the residents. The Village also employs a contract gardener and a part-time maintenance person.

Facilities include a gymnasium, bowling green, swimming pool, spa and sauna. There is a Social Club who organise a variety of activities plus there are exercise classes, table-tennis, a Bridge club, singing, arts and crafts and so forth.

As with any small community, there can be differences of opinion and sometimes conflict. From my point of view, it is difficult to reconcile the needs of the owners (to make money), the management (keeping things in order) and the residents association (seeking to address the diverse interests of the residents) and the residents themselves. In a perfect world they would all work together for the greater good – but this isn’t always the case, unfortunately!

The benefits include knowing your neighbours (very unlikely to get a bikie club setting up next door, is there Ted & Rae?) and the sense of keeping an eye out for each other – an informal Neighbourhood Watch. It gives one a sense of security. We are fortunate to have great neighbours 🙂 who I consider to be good friends.

If you are thinking of moving into a Village like ours, do as much research as you can, especially about ongoing fees and the likely financial impact if you decide it is not for you. It is hard to buy and sell in the broader real estate market but one needs to be even more prudent with retirement villages. I am sure the houses will increase in value over many years (great location) but they are not a good option for a short to mid-term investment.

The other thing to consider is the impact of living within a narrow demographic of the broader community, especially if one is younger and/or still in the workforce. Obviously we all get older so this can be a temporary issue :-). In a few years I may be complaining about those ‘youngsters’!

Cheers

Lorraine

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12 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Lifestyle Villages

  1. Interesting topic. I’m in the demographic, but choose to remain “in the wider community” for the time being. One of the cons of our choice is that we don’t pay nearly enough attention to maintenance, something I’d imagine is much better co-ordinated in your set up. Love the tub for the herbs, btw. We have two of those out the back!

      • I loved living in a dorm at school whereas most others preferred to live off campus in apartments. I can see myself in a community like yours. Fewer maintenance hassles. I’m not a “maintainer”. Too lazy, I guess.

  2. It’s hard to get away from “neighborhood politics” no matter where you live. We live in a similar community, but it’s NOT age restricted. And we own both the land and our villa. That said, there are many similarities . . . including the competing views of “what to do” about this, that, and the other thing.

  3. I have thought about this (I am 59) but have concluded that the current villages – in Tasmania at least – appear to be mainly those over 70, which is a shame as i think it would be great to find one where the age-group was more my age. I think the convenience of having everything at your door-step and having maintenance taken care of (albeit with a financial contribution) would all be pluses for me.

    • Hi Elizabeth, yes the average age here would be in the 70s as well. I am also 59 and a lot of the people here are the age my parents would be if they were still alive. I still look at the real estate pages sometimes but I can’t see myself moving out of here. Take care, Lorraine

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