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Stats show more over-65s are choosing to settle in the Western Cape, with KwaZulu-Natal losing some shine

KwaZulu-Natal is regarded by many as the retirement capital of South Africa, but statistics indicate the Western Cape is beginning to lure retirees from the east coast.

When comparing the buying patterns of buyers over the age of 65 from 2009 to 2018, Lightstone notes a “clear trend” in which the Western Cape is “growing to the detriment of KwaZulu-Natal.”

“It’s no surprise the Western Cape is a strong favourite for this age bracket, but it is interesting to note the preference for properties in KwaZulu-Natal has declined,” says Esteani Marx, head of Real Estate at Lightstone.

While the demand for properties in Gauteng has remained steady over the same period, he says the research indicates buyers over 65 are acquiring more property in the Western Cape than in any other province.

According to Lightstone, most of these buyers (61%) purchased freehold properties, with 20% opting for estates and 19% sectional title homes.

Of all estate property purchasers, buyers in the over-65 bracket form the biggest buying segment. “Over the last year, Helderberg Village in Somerset West accounted for the greatest number of transactions, totalling 92 at an average value of R7.475 million,” the Lightstone report says.

Of this, 63% of buyers are 65-plus. “In Eastford Downs, Knysna, 88% of buyers were over 65 and purchased property at an average value of R3.75m. Buyers purchasing property in Oudtshoorn accrued to 79%, where the average property value is R1.3m.”

Other figures for 65-plus buyers show:

  • 37% purchased mid-value homes.
  • 33% purchased high-value homes.
  • 15% purchased luxury homes.
  • 12% purchased affordable homes.
  • 3% purchased super-luxury homes.

As the world’s population is living longer, international reports have indicated the need for more retirement accommodation offerings. In 2030, there will be about one billion older people globally – accounting for 12% of the total population.

In the US, the number of older people is projected to increase more than 60% in just 15 years, according to a report commissioned by the US government in 2015.

Similarly, the demand for retirement living in Australia is expected to double between 2015 and 2025, states a report by the Property Council of South Africa.

In its Emerging Trends in Real Estate in Europe report last year, PwC highlighted retirement real estate as the second best investment opportunity after logistics facilities.

In South Africa, the situation is similar, states Evergreen Property Investments. Statistics show that by 2030, the country’s population of those aged 60 years and older will surge to 6.8 million.

As in other countries, this market has been chronically under-served in terms of living solutions. Villages and estates worth billions of rands are currently being built for this underserved market, says Arthur Case, brand marketing director of Evergreen Retirement Holdings.

The group believes nursing homes will struggle to attract investment and lifestyle retirement village and estates will be increasingly popular. While the old age home had an institutional nursing culture, the lifestyle retirement village has a hospitality culture with a strong community feel packed with amenities, facilities, healthcare centres and entertainment.

Case says: “Going forward, we are recruiting our village staff (other than nurses) from the hospitality industry. Baby boomers are entering the retirement village market and want luxury living, resort-style facilities, lock-upand-go security and estate management and service of a high standard.

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