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By: REI Editorial

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Six Trends That Will Define Retirement Property in 2023

While many of the trends that emerged in the South African residential property market in 2022 have been the direct result of the multiple interest rate hikes this year, the retirement property sector has remained relatively unaffected by these shifts.

“Mature buyers are generally less sensitive to the impact of interest rate hikes as many have purchased units in developments under a Life Rights model, which is a once-off upfront payment,” explains Gus van der Spek, owner of Cape Town retirement lifestyle estate Wytham Estate.

“Instead, the primary trends we observed in 2022 were driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, as was the case in the two years prior, with developers working to prioritise the safety of vulnerable residents,” he adds,

“Now that the immediate health risk has passed, we expect to see numerous new trends come to the fore in 2023 – largely driven by international best practice combined with local market factors.” Van der Spek lists these as follows:

    ‘Unretirement’ becomes increasingly popular

The term ‘unretirement’ refers to the process where retirees re-enter the workforce, often in less-labour intensive professions and on a part-time basis. This rising global trend is the result of multiple factors, including the need to earn an income to combat the rising cost-of-living as well as the desire to remain mentally active and fulfilled.

“In the case of wealthier retirees, many see their work as a great source of pride and want to stay involved for as long as possible. Some are choosing retirement developments in or close to major metros so that they can attend in-person meetings or spend some time at the office.”

    Increased focus on the psychology of ageing

To improve their residents’ quality of life and maintain their physical and mental health, many retirement developments are putting measures in place to address the psychological impact of ageing.

“Adjusting to a new life stage can be confusing and discomforting, and the psychological changes one goes through as they age are often overlooked. To address this, some retirement developments have on-site counsellors and other mental health resources available to help residents and their families through this transition.”

    Developments that promote holistic wellness

Another crucial aspect in ensuring the optimal quality of life of residents is the presence of on-site amenities that promote holistic wellness – socially, mentally, physically, emotionally, and intellectually. These amenities and activities are increasingly being embraced to keep the brain and body active while counteracting the effects of ageing.

“At Wytham Estate, for instance, we offer an on-site croquet lawn, boule court, gym, a yoga studio, and a massage room. Amenities that promote stress relief, gentle exercise and social interaction help to increase longevity and overall well-being.”

    Lock-up-and-go units in demand

Lock-up-and-go units are set to become a popular choice among retirees due to their lower cost, minimal maintenance requirements and the reduced caretaking associated with them.

“In the eyes of retirees who are accustomed to larger homes with rolling lawns, these smaller units may seem like a downgrade. But their low maintenance offers a lot of freedom,” says Van Der Spek. “We are also seeing a growing trend towards retirees having a lock-up-and-go unit as their primary residence and retaining their former, larger residence as a holiday house that can be used for family gatherings.”

    Younger buyers planning ahead by investing in retirement property

While millennials have lagged previous generations when it comes to saving for retirement, many are now beginning to see the wisdom of long-term planning, and some are even going as far as to buy retirement property early, as an investment.

“Younger buyers are investing in retirement property, choosing to rent out the unit out until they are ready to move in a few decades down the line. This way, the rental income covers the bond repayments and they secure their future home”.

    Smaller developments in response to space constraints

The Western Cape remains the semigration destination of choice for retirees, but with space in Cape Town at a premium, developers are having to ‘think smaller’.

“Many retirees have mobility constraints, so if you’re going to build vertically rather than horizontally to save space, you need to put in multiple lifts and ramps to accommodate their needs.”

“Space constraints require creativity and can be an exciting challenge for a developer. At Wytham Estate, we’ve taken inspiration from global property innovators by implementing measures such as underground parking garages and rooftop gardens, all of which are designed to be accessible by residents with mobility challenges,” he concludes.

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Reside all events 2 2024
Reside All Events 2024