A new local player has entered the village market with the $5.34 billion company (Washington H. Soul Pattinson) scouting for properties to develop its own retirement villages.
WHSP has been listed on the ASX since 1903 and has since expanded beyond pharmacy to investments in natural resources, building materials, telecommunications, retail, agriculture, property equity, investments and corporate advisory.
CEO Todd Barlow said the company had the property, financial and construction expertise to develop its own bundle of low-care retirement villages, although it would likely outsource the day-to-day running of the villages to an experienced operator.
“Everybody is aware of the ageing population and we worked out how we can play it, so we have been looking at it for some time and doing quite a lot of background work,” he said.
He said: “We have located an operator and we hope to be able to find some sites and start rolling some out developments.”
Mr Barlow said there was capacity to develop dozens of Soul Pattinson retirement villages in NSW alone, but it was only keen on the low-care, premium end of the sector.
“We have identified segments of the market which we think are under provided for at the moment, a premium product for people looking to downsize but wanting to maintain a quality lifestyle and quality residence.”
The venture demonstrates a real vote of confidence then in the sector – particularly in NSW where buybacks have been a hot topic of discussion.
Watch this space then.