Retirement developers watch out

Are marketers of new housing developments circling? asks Gill Walker, Evergreen Advertising

Mainstream property marketers currently spend countless dollars trying to woo first and new home buyers to take the plunge and live in new housing estates right across Australia.

But what would happen if these marketers turned their attention to the bigger and even more  lucrative boomer and senior market with less focus on ‘young couples in love’.

With some developers taking a deeper understanding of what boomers want we predict new marketing strategies are afoot.

With the property market being very tight, mainstream Australian property developers are becoming more interested, and taking notice of what boomers want in housing

New housing estates easily provide many advantages boomers are looking for: they are generally well designed and community oriented and they can live close to their families. They provide boomers options to exercise on their own terms, not clubs where the need to book formal access is required, and many of the intergeneration estates boost great  walking and cycling tracks which has enormous  appeal.

Boomers have bought and sold more property than previous generations and therefore more experienced at buying off the plan. What we also know, is that, boomers want to own their retirement residences, and have at least one eye on an improved investment outcome.

There are a few other important trends driving the housing needs of the boomers that mainstream developers will start to emphasise and retirement developers need to also consider:

  • Boomers will continue to work much longer than their forebears and are unlikely to see themselves as “retiring” in the traditional sense.  Consequently being close to work is likely to be a consideration, as will be the need to work from home, which might mean developers have to provide  a separate entrance for  the home business, extra car parking, or even serviced offices within the community.
  • Universality of design, which is the principle that buildings, products and environments should be inherently accessible to people with and without disabilities, is important.  This might means wider interior doors and hallways, lever handles rather than twisting knobs, smooth, ground level entrances without stairs, and light or sound activated devices.
  • Being wired in every room, not just for the obvious business or recreational technology requirements, but also to cater for the flood of e-health technologies that will be demanded so that people can age well in their own place..

Of course, many retirement village operators offer excellent facilities, providing great physical and emotional support to their residents.  Research by the major operators confirms that the majority of residents of retirement villages have very high levels of satisfaction and often say “we should have moved here much earlier’.

Younger retirees are especially pleased with the more resort-style villages, and the older residents get a great peace of mind if the village is co-located near services such as respite and aged care.  But as the boomer generation ages, as it always has, when it moved through earlier age cohorts, it will change the picture dramatically.

There are now 5,764,000 Australians  aged over 55*, or31% of the adult Australian population, so there is huge opportunity for both dedicated 55+ developers and mainstream developers to offer even better products and services – they just need to understand how much greener the grass is on the other side of 50.

The key to success is to have creative and channel  strategies in place that prove you understand what they need.


*Roy Morgan December 2011

Contact Evergreen to increase the effectiveness of your communications

Skip to content