Urbis Think Tank
Housing demand rockets for ageing population
Areas housing many of Australia’s 60-plus ‘baby boomers’ are in urgent need of a new approach to development, according to experts at one of the country’s leading independent property consultants, Urbis.
Michael Barlow, Director at Urbis, said that data from the latest Census shows that it is not just coastal regions that have reached a ‘tipping point’ when it comes to increasing housing demand for older people.
He said: “The number of areas housing those in their sixties or above has grown significantly over the last five years. There are now 61 regions across Australia with more than one-quarter of their population aged over 60 years – a huge leap from just 25 regions in 2006.”
Many of areas these are in recognised retirement locations, but for the first time, the list includes urban suburbs.
According to the Census figures, a number of suburbs within Australian cities now house much greater ageing populations compared with 2006. Mr Barlow said that these areas are struggling to provide new homes to accommodate older people as they make the move from the family home.
Regions with one-quarter of residents over 60 years of age
|Number of regions||Metropolitan Regions|
Source: ABS Census 2011, Urbis
Mr Barlow said: “Many people prefer to downsize their accommodation and stay within their current location as they get older, yet the range of housing choices in many suburbs is very limited. The ageing of our population is increasingly creating a major demand for new housing in many of our established suburbs.
“While retirement villages have met some of this demand, a significant proportion of older Australians are preferring independent living options.”
Several suburbs in Melbourne and Adelaide house high numbers of people aged over 60 years who will be seeking alternative accommodation in the same location over the coming years, yet only modest new housing developments have been seen in these areas. While this trend has already emerged in Melbourne and Adelaide, suburbs such as Hurstville, Epping and Warringah in Sydney will also begin to “tip” over the next few years.
Mr Barlow said: “The continuing growth in the 60-plus market in areas such as Gippsland and the NSW north coast provides yet another opportunity for developers.
Although the property industry has been slow to respond in some regards, this really does provide excellent upside, which is sorely needed in the current slow construction environment.”
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