A fresh approach to seniors living

Australia’s new concept in seniors living is setting new benchmarks for downsizers by offering a more affordable, higher quality solution that’s exceeding expectations.

Lifestyle-focused land lease communities are the newest seniors housing trend gaining a strong traction in the market as it presents a more viable option for downsizers.

Land lease living breaks down the walls of confusing contracts, complex financial arrangements and questions over legalities, replacing this uncertainty with a more simple and transparent ownership model.

Ingenia Lifestyle is one of Australia’s leading creators of lifestyle communities delivering the unique land lease model that disrupts the traditional DMF/exit fee offering.

Ingenia Chief Operating Officer, Nikki Fisher, said lifestyle communities are specifically tailored to the needs of active, independent seniors where you purchase and own your home, lease the land and pay no stamp duty or exit fees.

“Land lease living is not your average retirement community, saving seniors thousands of dollars with a more affordable price point while introducing a whole new housing market that is not just for retirees but for all types of downsizers.

“It’s supported via government regulations and legislation with strong levels of protection for both home owner and operator providing the security and peace of mind with a variety of social benefits and financial gains,” Nikki said.

Author and seniors finance expert, Rachel Lane, said downsizing can be an exciting time, but it pays to do your research.

“Comparing the different financial arrangements between retirement villages and lifestyle communities is like comparing apples and oranges.

“I find it easiest to break it down into the ingoing, the ongoing and the outgoing,” Rachel explains:

Apples: Retirement villages operate under the Retirement Villages Act with a lease or ‘licence to occupy’ as the ingoing price.

Oranges: In a lifestyle community the price you pay upfront is to buy your own home under a freehold and have a leasehold over the land.

Apples: In a retirement village the weekly or monthly maintenance fee is often called a “general service charge” or “recurrent charge”. For pensioners to be eligible for rent assistance they need to purchase below a certain threshold (currently $207,000).

Oranges: In a lifestyle community they’re called site fees. Because of the unique land lease ownership structure in lifestyle communities, most pensioners qualify for rent assistance on their site fees reducing their ongoing costs by sometimes hundreds of dollars per month.

The greatest confusion comes when exiting. Generally, when selling your home in either you’re likely to incur some costs – typically agent’s fees, marketing expenses or the cost of repairs or improvements.

Apples: In a retirement village, exit fees or deferred management fees (DMF), are standard and likely to be a percentage of either your purchase price or re-sale price, anything from 10% to 30%. The exit fee may also include a sharing of capital gain with the operator.

Oranges: Where you are likely to find the biggest difference is most lifestyle communities do not charge exit fees. You own your own home and it is a will-able asset, so the home owner keeps 100% of any capital gains made on the property if or when they decide to sell their home with no refurbishment fees.