What is the real story on customer enquiry/interest in retirement villages? We are asked this nearly every day.
Here is some data from the search results on our website villages.com.au to make you think.
The chart above is a snapshot of potential customers searching for villages by month basically for the Gold Coast, from Currumbin up to Helensvale a distance of 37 km.
Each search result indicates the number of unique individuals who searched within a 6 km radius of that location in the month. At the top of the left-hand column 1167 means 1167 people searched in the month for a retirement village within a 6 km radius of that location.
We picked the Gold Coast first because it traditionally has the highest search traffic of any region in Australia for retirement villages. It is also where the Earle Haven ‘event’ occurred this month; we have given the stats from July to July so we can compare if it has had an impact on customer sentiment – and it has.
The second chart lower down is for the Central Coast north of Sydney, a similar retirement hotspot. Again, we have taken three villages spread across 33 kilometres.
The third chart is for SE Melbourne with a similar spread of villages.
On the Gold Coast enquiry declined over the 12 months by about 20% but that dropped to 30% in July when comparing July 18 to July 19. We reckon this second drop is because of Earle Haven.
Any way you look at it, the declining volume of actual people searching for retirement villages is not a good trend.
The second chart for NSW’s Central Coast shows a 28% drop in customer interest July to July. There is no apparent impact from Earle Haven, just a decline in customer searches. Again worrying.
The third chart for south-east Melbourne verifies the overall integrity of the data – because Victorians have increased their interest in retirement villages around Cranbourne, with only a 7% drop closer to Melbourne.
Why is this so?
Next week we will dig a little deeper into why these trends are occurring, asking some operators of their opinion.
What are your thoughts? What does it mean for the retirement village sector?