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Growth and opportunity for Kiwi Retirement Villages

Retirement living in New Zealand has changed enormously over the past 30 years. There are currently 422 retirement villages across Aotearoa whose target market include the 330,000+ Kiwis aged 75+ years. A research paper released last month projects that by 2048, that number will have increased to 833,000. This rise is even more remarkable given that it doesn’t include seniors under 75 years.

Retirement Village residency will continue to rise as our population of seniors grows. Today, Auckland, Canterbury and Waikato account for New Zealand’s largest increase of Kiwis aged 75+. Research from Jones Lasalle Lange (JLL) forecasts that over the next 12 years Auckland will experience an increase of over 12,000 Village residents while Canterbury and Waikato will see the next-highest growth rates at 3,700+ and 3,500+ respectively. As demand for Retirement Villages increase, so too will the need for technologies that deliver the lifestyle and Village experience that residents – and prospective residents – expect. Given rapid growth forecasts, how can we plan for the next generation of Retirement Village residents and address potential gaps before they occur?

Village distribution is a helpful starting point. Since 2012 the RV sector has grown by 23%, equating to almost 15,000 new units. With land at a premium, these figures help inform conversation on how our communities might look, the infrastructural and technological demands that will accompany each new build, and how operators can deliver a Village lifestyle that leverages local resources and networks. By Village distribution, Auckland leads the way and is followed in order by:

· Canterbury

· Waikato

· Bay of Plenty

· Wellington

· Manawatu-Whanganui

· Hawke's Bay

· Northland

· Tasman-Nelson-Marlborough

· Otago

· Taranaki

· Southland

· Gisborne

In addition to high-quality housing, operators in each of these regions will need to equip residents with tools to fully engage with their Village and with the wider community of which they’re a part. Increasing digital literacy among younger cohorts of Village residents will create greater demand for digital-first options. This is where solutions like Skillet come into play. In its simplest form, Skillet is a marketplace of services and activities co-designed by and for retirement village residents, senior citizens more broadly, people with disabilities, and businesses in New Zealand’s Aged Care, Retirement, Trades, Home and Healthcare sectors.

In a Village setting, Skillet’s streamlines the process of finding and booking the services, activities and special events that residents need, wherever they may be located in New Zealand. A popular service over the past week has been housecleaning for residents who are ready for guests. Digitising the booking process means removing barriers around due diligence, coordination and communication for the consumers and providers of services: both Village residents and operators.

In a retirement market with long waiting lists and increasing demand, this model also means that prospective residents can engage with their Village before they move in. In practical terms, seniors can build a sense of community ahead of leaving their own homes, and continue those relationships once settled. A win for both residents and for the Village operators who wish to consolidate the important roles they play in their communities.

Download a copy of JLL’s whitepaper on New Zealand Retirement Villages for a closer look at the gaps and opportunities that will emerge from the sector’s growth over the decade ahead.

21 July 2021


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