Retirement living is fast becomin one of the most in-demand sectors in the South African property market. More and more people over 50 choose to downsize from the large traditional family home to the easy luxury living of a lock-up-go home in an upmarket lifestyle estate. Who wouldn’t want it?

After our year of lockdown and moving into 2021, the new era of “shift” started with young retirees seeking easy living options. These options allow them to retain their independence and the lifestyle with the comfort and medical attention that will become increasingly necessary as they age. An approach of planning for the future while enjoying the benefits of these easy living options.

A fascinating fact is that the average age of retirement used to be 65, but this number changed overnight to 55 in more affluent population groups. So it might seem that 55 is still a very productive age, but many yearn for retirement and more time for themselves. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has played a significant role in accelerating the route to early retirement for those who can afford it. Our entire sense of time fleeting and having fundamental rights removed has altered how we think. 

Multi-generational living is another major modern trend where the living arrangement with more than two adult generations living under one roof.

In South Africa, especially, many retirees have moved into a ‘granny flat’ or a garden cottage on the same property as their adult children. In many cases, this is convenient, and it is a joint decision made by both generations. Some families are overjoyed to have their parents/grandparents near enough to be looked after. 

The most significant new trend is to allow for home care and a live-in carer, rather than as in the past to move to frail-care centres. This is economically viable and leads to a greater sense of independence for the elderly. Many thrive in this independence in their later years. 

We have also seen that developers specialising in retirement estates are constantly looking for innovative ways to improve the experience of their residents. 

The traditional old age homes have a negative stigma attached to them. Moreover, they are often associated with cramped living conditions, contributing to the massive demand for retirement lifestyle villages and estates.

The new generation of retirees wants space, open rooms, an on-site lifestyle centre with sports facilities, landscaped grounds, etc. They expect pools, gyms, saunas, yoga and exercise classes and other offerings that make them feel good about themselves.  

This obviously comes down to a resident’s affordability and the level of medical care they require. Still, in general, we are seeing a massive push for separate units on one large property rather than a single room in a building in more traditional old age homes.

‘Semigration’, the move from inland cities to our lovely coastal villages, has spiked since the pandemic. The change in work routine with people able to work remotely has added to the influx of people to quaint seaside towns. 

The most significant retirement trend for 2022 is focusing on the quality of life with beautiful outdoor spaces and nature on the doorstep. All of which can be found here in the greater St Francis Bay area.