Better planning needed for senior-targeted developments
1 minute read

Better planning needed for senior-targeted developments

Better planning needed for senior-targeted developments

by Sasha Karen | June 22, 2018 | 1 minute read

In what is being described as a “silver tsunami”, the population of those over 65 years-old is set to boom, yet our current housing options are not ready to accommodate for this influx, the Property Council of Australia has warned.

Senior citizens, senior-targeted development, retirement plan
June 22, 2018

This influx has been highlighted by the Retirement Living Planning Report Card report, which was published by Urbis and commissioned by the Property Council of Australia.

Assessed on four recommendations of increasing land availability, supporting more commercially viable developments, improving alignment with market needs and elevating retirement living to state importance in planning schemes and then given a score out of 100, the results of the Report Card are:


State or Territory


Overall score


South Australia















Western Australia






Northern Territory


The results were not exactly something to be proud of, said Kylie Newcombe, associate director of Urbis and author of the report, as she said the scores were low overall.

In order to see improvement, Ms Newcombe said that there needs to be a shift from seeing planning as a barrier to planning as an enabler.

“Common hurdles to developing seniors housing are the ongoing competition for land, historic zoning and height restrictions, and a general lack of understanding of the market’s needs by authorities,” she said.

“Ideally, there would be a more flexible approach that is tailored to what seniors need and want.”

From the report, consistent themes were discovered about the current state of developing for senior-specific housing. These are:

  • There is increasing competition with standard residential development;
  • Land availability in some states is a concern;
  • The industry is looking for support from governments, which can help in addressing critical issues; and
  • The retirement living industry in NSW’s current planning policy for retirement living needs updating as a whole, which then could be adopted by other states and territories.

According to Ben Myers, executive director of retirement living at the Property Council of Australia, the report highlights the need for states and local governments to ensure land is available for dedicated senior housing.

“Issues such as zoning and overly restrictive height controls can inhibit the redevelopment potential of existing communities to ensure the expectations of Australian retirees are met,” Mr Myers said.

“Without changes to planning policy and improved awareness at council level, seniors may find their choices limited, and be more likely to be stuck in homes that reduce their ability to stay independent and healthy.

“Retirees would benefit greatly from specific seniors housing policies and targets, to promote appropriate development, to ensure there are options available for people aged 65 and over.”

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