HAPPY FAMILY: Oak Tree residents Diana Hewitt, Jan Behrmann, Jim Behrmann, Gloria Baker, Rosemary Rasanen, Daphne Cross, Elizabeth Fry and village manager Mary O'Niell.
HAPPY FAMILY: Oak Tree residents Diana Hewitt, Jan Behrmann, Jim Behrmann, Gloria Baker, Rosemary Rasanen, Daphne Cross, Elizabeth Fry and village manager Mary O'Niell. Jonno Colfs

Warwick: a premium destination for retirees

WITH its relaxed lifestyle, cheap cost of living and prestigious living options, Warwick has become a prime destination for retirees from all over Australia - and the surge shows no signs of slowing.

Vacancy rates are at extremely low levels, despite more than 130 units having been built in Warwick in the past 12 years.

The trend toward village living is one being replicated all across Australia.

A recent report published showed Australian retirement villages are almost full, highlighting a need for more age- appropriate housing for seniors in local communities.

The report showed increasing numbers of older Australians are living in retirement villages, taking advantage of hotel-style services, visiting health professionals and cash leftover from the sale of their family homes.

Churches of Christ Care Regency Park Retirement Village currently has three vacant units, with more than 95percent of the prestige village currently filled.

Retirement living general manager Beth Littler said demand had soared in the past year.

"Regency Park has long been the Southern Downs' premium retirement destination but, with all the development and uplift on site, we have seen a noticeable increased demand in our units, with the number of vacant units considerably less than a year ago,” Ms Littler said.

"Since purchasing the village in 2015, we have built eight new units and now residents of the 99-unit village also have a new clubhouse to be the centre of the social activities. With the new aged care service being built as we speak, they will be able to age in place among friends in their community.”

The Property Council of Australia spokesman Ben Myers said retirement villages across the nation were almost at their practical capacity of 93percent occupancy in 2016 and the number of people aged 65 and over was set to grow by five million in the next 40 years.

"It is clear however, that without significant improvements in state planning policy, many seniors won't be able to access these benefits in coming years - we are facing an imminent capacity crisis,” Mr Myers said.

It is a similar story across town at Oak Tree Retirement Village.

The facility currently has 33 units, 31 which have been sold, with four new villas planned to begin construction this month and a further 25 more to be built in the future.

In contrast population forecasts for the Southern Downs show the 64-68-year-old group will grow by more than 1100 in the next 10 years.



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