It is no surprise that people are now living longer than ever before. Thanks to constant advances in the field of medical science, nutrition and farming, humans are stronger than they’ve ever been. Our lifestyles have also changed, and thus human interaction has changed, and with it, so have our needs.
The number of people of retirement age, both locally and globally, has increased; and is set to increase by 7% over the next 3 decades. The stats may look scary, but there is a positive side to all of this; and that is the retirement market is a very formidable consumer sector. Retirees, who are looking to settle down into retirement, are using their powers of preference in terms of what they want, and where they want to settle.
Retirement means downscaling in many ways, but that is not a bad thing at all. If anything, having less possessions can mean living more. Retirees would rather pour their capital into a comfortable, functional and secure living situation. In South Africa, the demand for secure retirement living is huge, and is ever-growing. Because of this, there is a dearth of suitable products on the market. Property developers are responding to this, and realising that the nature of retirement is changing.
There are several factors which rank very highly on the list of ‘wants’- from the obvious: security, accessibility and onsite care facilities to the surprising: more communal spaces and a place for pets. Retirees are choosing not only what they want, but where they want it. Warmer climes prove to be very attractive options. In terms of economics, it is behavior which drives the market – if group A, B and C (of the same economic stratum) decide to settle somewhere (Town X), by virtue of this other like-minded people (Group D, E, F and G), will deem that destination an attractive option and will be likely to settle there too and so on, and thus the locale becomes the destination of choice for retirement. Florida is the virtual retirement capital of the US, with 28% of the population of retirement age. Factors like weather, climate and population diversity are partly responsible for this. Kwa-Zulu Natal is very similar to Florida by way of climate and proximity to the coast and enjoys average mild temperatures and sunshine most of the year, as well as a generally more laid-back way of life. Described as a vacation destination, KZN attracts many out-of-towners all year round, and with its distinctive holiday town feel, is an attractive retirement destination: