Last Thursday’s NSW Retirement Living Council Outlook breakfast attracted around 200 attendees.
Included on a panel was new BaptistCare CEO Charles Moore (pictured above), who comes from the CEO role of Sydney’s Olympic Park and before that, 14 years as a property-focused funds manager at Colonial First State.
He raised a concern that the NSW Government is talking about eliminating stamp duty to make buying a home easier. He said:
“No stamp duty and no DMF. I wonder what that would look like (as a competing offer to retirees thinking of an apartment rather than a retirement village).”
A good point that nobody engaged with from the panel or audience.
He then said: “Going vertical in new developments makes it a lot easier to combine a RAC.”
Again, with an audience that is predominantly private operators, nobody took him up on this comment, as most have steered away from involvement in higher-level care, despite the New Zealand model and Ryman in Melbourne demonstrating that there is high demand for it.
Other comments by Charles:
“BaptistCare intentionally is converting older villages to rental, and they are 100% full.”
“But it is hard to roll out new rental and build to rent without Government support.”
“The Royal Commission outcomes will see an acceleration in home designs. People will want to age in their own home longer which means we will have clients later.”
“Design will increase in importance, with things like cross ventilation, ample access to common areas and more generous lifts.”
“Supply of (development) sites has been a constrained for a while. But we are seeing strong consumer confidence; our customer satisfaction is at record levels.”
The NSW president of the RLC and CEO of Baldwin Living, Paul Burkett (pictured right), emphasised the need to attract more investors and more operators. He pointed to the Code of Conduct, which now has 570 villages representing 67,000 residents, as an important tool to build trust and investor confidence.
He also wants to see more data generated by the sector to help investors and potential customers.
Paul also spoke of a cancellation rate of 46% for people who place a deposit on a village home but withdraw because they can’t sell their family home, and the impact this will have on buybacks.
These points will not support the attraction of new capital. However, the fundamentals of the sector are being recognised by wholesale investors, as witnessed by the Aware Super commitment to buy 25% of Lendlease’s retirement business last week for $460 million.