Summerset buys big Melbourne block for first Australian retirement village

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New Zealand’s second largest retirement village operator has acquired an eight-hectare site in Cranbourne North, 39km southeast of the CBD, for its first village in Australia.

While no price has been disclosed, the company said the acquisition and development will be funded from existing bank facilities.

As we covered here, Summerset established an office in Melbourne in May last year and have been actively seeking sites since then.

This Cranbourne North site is close to several shopping centres, a golf course, public transport and adjacent to a public reserve with walking tracks and Summerset CEO Julian Cook (pictured) said the site was a good entry point for the company’s growth plans in Melbourne.

Noting that the Melbourne property market is recovering and prices increasing after a year of decline, Mr Cook said: “We have made clear our plans for Melbourne for some time now and believe this market is an attractive growth opportunity for us.”

“Summerset will be introducing its continuum of care retirement village model to Victoria, which is not a common feature of many retirement villages there. Our research indicates that there is strong demand for this style of village.”

At its recent AGM, the company flagged it expected to be building 600 units a year in three years’ time.

Summerset’s move to Melbourne follows fellow NZ operator Ryman Healthcare’s successful shift into the Australian market – since their first village opened in 2013 in Wheeler’s Hill, they have since expanded to 11 sites around Melbourne and Victoria.

Summerset has 28 villages in NZ and another 10 sites in development.