Retirement villages: the balance of cost and comfort

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    Retirement villages: the balance of cost and comfort

    This article is taken from our autumn 2022 edition of Equinox. You can view the full version here.

    Retirement villages are becoming an increasingly popular choice for the over 55s due to the variety of benefits they now offer. With many dedicated facilities and activities to enjoy, retirement living has never looked so appealing.

    A recent survey carried out by CW Retirement Living found that roughly half their survey population is either ‘very’ or ‘quite’ attracted to the idea of living in a retirement development.(1)

    Retirement villages often go above and beyond in what they offer, as well as providing a sense of community and a better quality of life.

    You may be at the start of your journey, debating whether this is the right option for you. To make your decision easier, here’s our key costs to consider:

    • Property prices – often retirement villages are positioned as a place which offers a luxury lifestyle, with facilities such as swimming pools and restaurants on site. You can expect the retirement property to have a higher price than the equivalent size in the same area.(2)
    • Service/management fee – this can range from £500 – £1000 per month (3), covering anything from the running of the village, to health club membership, to a management team, who look after everything and everyone. In the event of selling the property, these charges may continue until the property is sold.
    • Parking fees and ground rent – are usually charged on an annual basis. It may be worth checking historical costs as there have been instances where companies have increased ground rent by a vast amount at very short notice.
    • Additional care costs – if you think you may need extra care and support, find out the cost and if you’re required to use their in-house care service, or whether you can use external resources.
    • Bills which are not included – you will still have to pay for household amenities such as gas, electric, water, TV license and council tax.
    • Lease renewal – most retirement properties are sold on a lease basis. Check the remaining term on the lease, as it can be costly to renew and having a short-term lease will affect the property’s value.
    • Exit or Transfer fee – your lease may have a clause which requires you to pay a fee in the event of selling, sub-letting or transferring ownership. You may wish to enlist the help of a solicitor to go through the terms with you.
    • Conditions of sale – when re-selling the property, you can usually choose between using your own estate agent or their in-house sales team. However, some freeholders make it a condition that you must resell through their company.

    These costs may seem daunting, however, this life-changing decision comes with immeasurable benefits:

    • Security is a top priority – from having staff on hand to assist you if needed, to providing all residents with their own unique key passes.
    • Less stress, more pleasure – not only do you get to experience the benefit of living in beautiful surroundings with a variety of amenities available, but it also removes the burden of mundane and strenuous property upkeep, which may currently lie with you or your family.
    • Sense of community – this environment provides the independence of living in your own home, with the benefit of being surrounded by others of similar age. The opportunity to join like-minded individuals in a multitude of classes, activities and groups, combats social isolation and loneliness. Spending time doing what brings you the most enjoyment can create a real sense of wellbeing.
    • Positive outcome – a report by ProMatura International and Associated Retirement Community Operators (4), found those that moved to retirement communities stay healthier for longer, are more active, less lonely, have a greater sense of safety and ultimately, enjoy life more.

    If this is something you are considering for yourself or a loved one, see our top tips below:

    • Look for companies signed up to one of the following Codes of Practice:

    The Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO) – this is the main body representing the retirement community sector in the UK, so this is a useful place to start your search.

    The Associated Retirement Housing Managers (ARHM) – who epresents a wide range of private and voluntary sector housing managers throughout the UK.

    National House Building Council (NHBC) – The sheltered housing code governs the relationship between the residents, the builder/developer, the purchaser and the management organisation

    • Check if there’s a residents’ association:

    Check that the management organisation works with a residents’ association, which helps ensure residents’ views and needs are considered.

    • Think of it as an investment into your wellbeing:

    With the range of ongoing fees, it can be viewed as an expensive move and one which may not necessarily result in a financial gain when selling the property. Consider whether this could benefit your life and then decide if the costs are justifiable.

    If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. If you’re a client you can reach us on 0161 486 2250 or by getting in touch with your usual Equilibrium contact. For all new enquiries please call 0161 383 3335.

    Sources

    (1) CW Retirement Living – Perceptions of Retirement Living report www.clarkewillmott.com

    (2) Research by the real estate company, Jones Lang LaSalle, suggested that, on average, a retirement apartment in England costs around 17% more than a standard apartment of the same size in 2018.

    (3) Financial Times – Retirement village life: your own Thursday Murder Club? www.ft.com

    (4) Associated Retirement Community Operators – Housing, health and care; The health and wellbeing benefits of Retirement Communities. www.arcouk.org

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