Pic credit: Mont Choisy Le Parc Golf & Beach Estate in Mauritius
WORDS: KIM MAXWELL :: PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Accommodation aimed at mature residents has always offered healthcare access and support. What’s changed lately is the multitude of lifestyle, wellness and sports amenities being presented. These days the mantra is “declutter and downscale”. Then ensure that your new retirement accommodation is maximising what is on offer. It is about much more than homes at the top end of the property market.
“There’s a strong focus on creating a greater mix of price bands and retirement development, ensuring broader appeal both in terms of available homes and amenities,” says Andrew Golding, Pam Golding Property group CEO. For retirees, scaling back on their household contents is an essential next step when downsizing to a new estate townhouse, apartment or home. Most people find it incredibly difficult to part with furniture and sentimental possessions collected over 30 or 40 years.
An increasing number of South African homeowners are opting to move into smaller properties earlier in life. Contributing factors include convenience, lifestyle changes and security. Urban areas remain popular for staying in touch with friends or extended family. Yet plenty of retirees prefer new locations and a change of environment. Where are they going? KwaZulu-Natal has seen a surge in retirement developments designed to attract over-55s. Evergreen Lifestyle will bring its successful life rights retirement estate model to this province when construction starts on three luxury developments by end-2020. Two Evergreen villages in Umhlanga Ridge and Zimbali Lakes near Ballito will house residents in coastal, subtropical upmarket homes, whereas Evergreen Hilton will provide a charming countryside alternative in the Midlands.
Savvy investors are also buying sectional title apartments along the underdeveloped South Coast. “Value for money is unbeatable here,” says Tyson Properties Shelly Beach branch manager Corky Kirby. “It’s possible to buy exceptional beachside properties with sea views, modern and in excellent condition, below the R2m mark.” Kirby reports a shift to estate living in this area.
A SIMPLER LIFE
Unsurprisingly, the Garden Route remains a top retirement destination. Devmark Property Groups’ The Plettenberg Manor retirement village is 80% sold out. When completed by mid-2021, this sectional title development will offer 102 luxury homes and 24 luxury apartments. Knysna, too, has retained its appeal to retired buyers at sought-after estates such as Pezula and Simola Golf and Country Estate, according to Golding.
The trend towards downscaling echoes a philosophical need for a simplified lifestyle. “Generally, once couples retire, they’ve been empty-nesters for some time and are looking to clear out their homes and live an easier, simpler life,” says Jawitz Properties Midrand property consultant Sue de Klerk. But smaller homes don’t have to mean a smaller life. The Waterfall area in Midrand has seen increasing growth over the past year. Luxury retirement estate options marketed by Jawitz Properties Midrand include a three-bedroom home with a spacious kitchen, underfloor heating and a double garage in Waterfall Valley Mature Lifestyle Estate, listed at R6.8m. De Klerk predicts that the high cost of living and demand for security will see downscaling and empty-nesting continue.
“Scaling down is never easy,” says Laurie Wener, Pam Golding Properties senior executive for Cape developments. “The challenges come in making the decision to find a suitable property and adjusting to what you really require when the children have moved out. “You may also need to accept that smaller is not necessarily cheaper. There may be a premium on newer, more secure, higher-demand property, but the saving will come in the reduced maintenance and upkeep.” Many developments put the focus on minimalist homes with multiple amenities within reach. What makes these so attractive to investors?
Devmark Property Group CEO Hein Ehlers says offering retirees an opportunity to scale down and modernise is one benefit. “Our luxury homes and apartments at Langebaan Manor are spacious enough for retirees to keep those items that are close to their hearts,” says Ehlers.
With estimated completion by the end of the year, this Langebaan development features West Coast architecture in five house types and two apartment options.
Evergreen Lifestyle brand ambassador Arthur Case’s take is that more mature residents now welcome the opportunity to downscale. “There is a generational changing of the guard with regard to retirees,” he says. “The oldest baby boomers are now in their early 70s and their perspective on retirement is very different.” Many modern retirees remain active, generate an income and travel in their spare time, Case says.
“Yesterday’s retirees were known to hold onto stuff, furniture, memories of yesterday, and tended to clutter their smaller retirement homes. Baby boomers are different: they believe less is more and want to downscale their homes while upscaling their lifestyle. Lifestyle retirement villages tick this box.” These seniors want new and fresh, not institutional and dated. Slightly smaller modern spaces with state-of-the-art appliances and design such as the luxury homes at Val de Vie Evergreen in the Winelands are a good example, says Case. Phase 1 is operational, with 81 of 640 units now occupied. Here retirees can use the Evergreen communal facilities, including a clubhouse and bowling greens, and access facilities on the greater Val de Vie estate. All Evergreen homes are purchased on a life rights model. Ehlers says demand for homes in Devmark’s The Retirement Collection developments has proven time and again that retirees can live happy, fulfilling lives. “Our residents are social and enjoy life to the fullest, and our garden and house-cleaning services give them the opportunity to lead a lock-up-and-go lifestyle and travel.
Furthermore, they have the time and space to practise their hobbies and pursue their interests.”
“Baby boomers believe less is more and want to downscale their homes while upscaling their lifestyle. Lifestyle retirement villages tick this box” Arthur Case, brand ambassador, Evergreen Lifestyle
TOP 5 RETIREMENT VILLAGES IN SA FOR 2019
- Clé du Cap, Kirstenhof
- Evergreen Val de Vie, Paarl Winelands
- Helderberg Village, Somerset West
- Onrus Manor, Hermanus
- Waterfall Hills Mature Lifestyle Estate, Midrand
Source: New World Wealth
Identifying Cape Town’s undersupply of quality offerings, Rabie Property Group developed its Oasis Life retirement lifestyle residential offering for a “new-generation retiree”. Its current Northern Suburbs developments include the family estate Clara Anna Fontein near Durbanville and Burgundy Estate between Durbanville Hills and Milnerton. “We take the utmost care to design practical, contemporary homes with beautiful landscaping and surrounds for an older resident,” says Rabie director Miguel Rodrigues. Relaxation and comfort should be part of any retirement home design. “Hospitality in modern retirement villages should match that of the best hotels and holiday resorts, which is why Evergreen recruits from these industries,” says Case. “Evergreen Muizenberg is close to the ocean and feels like an oasis when one enters it.” The development has a 2,000m² lifestyle centre with a lounge and dining area, a salon, a gym and an indoor heated pool with a sun deck. At Clara Anna Fontein Oasis Life, freestanding homes combine comfort and style on a secure lifestyle estate, where mature residents have views of the Durbanville countryside. Rabie’s life rights model ensures quality facilities, gardens and common areas, allowing mature residents to “submerse themselves fully into a great retirement lifestyle”. Of the 60 homes in the first phase, only 25 are still available.
Downscaling can be a mechanism towards increased financial stability. Ehlers recommends buying now to retire later. “Our estates offer full ownership. You purchase the property in your name and own it outright, under a sectional title or freehold scheme, which means you can reap the benefits of capital growth and be able to bequeath it in your will.” Full-ownership property can be purchased at any age but is only let to tenants older than 50. “This will give you an immediate income while you plan your future retirement, but at today’s prices,” says Ehlers. “With a limited supply of full-ownership retirement villages and a high demand for this type of accommodation, it makes an investment in any well-run development an attractive option.”
Of course, some South Africans look offshore to see out their golden years. Downsizing and decluttering is non-negotiable in these situations. Pam Golding Mauritius staff say they come across a number of clients in their 50s and 60s who have worked hard and want to slow down to a more easy-going pace. Since May 2019, Mauritius has also had a noticeable increase in property purchases that qualify South Africans to apply for permanent residency. “We don’t have lots of retirement villages in Mauritius,” says Pam Golding Properties Mauritius director Jonathan Tagg. “What we have observed, though, is that people who’d like to retire in Mauritius often opt for an estate. One we’ve been selling is Mont Choisy Le Parc Golf & Beach Estate in Grand Baie.” The estate has two apartment precincts and three precincts with villas. These lock-up-and-go homes typically have private swimming pools. The clubhouse and the beach can easily be reached on foot, and residents have access to an 18-hole championship course designed by Peter Matkovich, with a shopping complex and a private hospital close by.
If your retirement plans involve a move to Mauritius, the investment benefits are numerous. Aside from a desirable tropical climate, a safe environment and access to quality medical facilities, the Mauritius Air Corridor makes the island a convenient base for travel between Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe. The government has incentives in place such as a retirement visa, and the country is extremely tax-efficient. Combine that with a peaceful island lifestyle and what’s not to like?
“With a limited supply of full-ownership retirement villages and a high demand for this type of accommodation, it makes an investment in any well-run development an attractive option” Hein Ehlers, CEO, Devmark Property Group