Areas housing many of Australia’s 60-plus ‘baby boomers’ are in urgent need of a new approach to development, according to experts at independent property consultants, Urbis.
Roberta Ryan, social planning director at Urbis, told DPS News data from the latest Census showed it was not just coastal regions that have reached a “tipping point” when it came to increasing housing demand for older people.
“The number of areas housing those in their 60s or above has grown significantly over the past five years. There are now 61 regions across Australia with more than one-quarter of their population aged over 60 years. This is a huge leap from just 25 regions in 2006,” she added.
Many of these areas were in recognised retirement locations, but for the first time, the list included urban suburbs.
According to the Census figures, a number of suburbs within Australian cities now house much greater ageing populations compared with 2006. Ms Ryan said these areas were struggling to provide new homes to accommodate older people as they make the move from the family home.
Ms Ryan added many people preferred to downsize their accommodation and stay within their current location as they grow older, yet the range of housing choices in many suburbs was very limited.
The ageing population was increasingly creating a major demand for new housing in many established suburbs.
“While retirement villages have met some of this demand, a significant proportion of older Australians prefer independent living options,” she said.
Several suburbs in Melbourne and Adelaide house high numbers of people aged over 60 years who would be seeking alternative accommodation in the same location over the coming years, yet only modest new housing developments have been seen in these areas.
While this trend had already emerged in Melbourne and Adelaide, suburbs such as Hurstville, Epping and Warringah in Sydney would also begin to “tip” over in the next few years.
“The continuing growth in the 60-plus market in areas such as Gippsland and the NSW north coast provides yet another opportunity for developers.
“I think we also need to be looking at how neighbourhoods can accommodate people with a diversity of needs. Inclusive communities equal more successful communities.”