The conversations of life

New Zealanders launch “London’s first luxury retirement village”

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That’s what the UK Guardian is calling LifeCare Residences International’s latest development in the UK.

“The average price of a home will be £1 million and the membership fees alone will be higher than the annual income of a full-time worker on the minimum wage,” it said.

The $184 million Battersea Place village, led by New Zealander founder and chairman Cliff Cook, is certainly a pricey investment. The 108 apartments have been selling for £535,000 to £3M ($912,000 to $5.1 million).

Village residents also pay a weekly fee of $420, while the 30-bed “boutique nursing wing” costs an eye-watering $3,700 per month.

But is it really London’s most luxurious?

Setting a new standard

“I know from the NZ perspective, this is hard to believe,” LifeCare’s London CEO Richard Davis told the New Zealand Herald. “But we are the very first luxury retirement community in London.”

“In all of the UK, only 0.5 per cent of the 65-plus population live in retirement villages compared to more than 5 per cent in NZ.”

Mr Davis puts this down to older Londoners typically staying in their homes longer before moving into a nursing home or downsizing, or moving outside of the city.

The fact is seniors housing – especially high-end accommodation – is a relatively new phenomenon in the UK compared to Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

And one company, McCarthy & Stone, controls over 70 per cent of the UK’s retirement village market.

A growing market

In spite of this, Knight Frank says only one per cent of houses being built today are for the elderly.

So it’s not a surprise new operators are now looking to cash in.

Battersea Place’s prices haven’t stopped buyers from opening their wallets either. 80 per cent of the units sold before the village even opened in July.

And with Britain’s over-65 population predicted to grow four times faster than the rest of the UK population in the next five years, the demand is certainly there.

 

Annie Donaldson

With a background in nursing, Annie has spent over 20 years working in the health industry, including the coordination of medical support for international TV productions and major stadium events, plus education campaigns with a number of national health organisations. In recent years, she has also taken time out of the workforce to be a full-time carer, giving her first-hand experience of the challenges and rewards of this role.


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