The rising popularity of Manufactured Housing Estates (MHEs) for the Over 50s, 60s & Retirees
Today, Manufactured Housing Estates (MHEs) are the largest and fastest growing target market within the seniors living spectrum. There is a shortage of supply of affordable senior’s accommodation and a growing demand for such affordable houses, as house prices continue to rise, a lot faster than incomes, whilst MHEs are lot less an investment for owners. The demand for MHEs are expected to grow with the ageing population of Australia, driven by the ‘baby-boomer’ generation and limited housing affordability options.
The unique separation of land ownership from house ownership provides particular benefits to the residents as the weekly rent charged by the operator of such developments is indirectly underwritten by the Federal Government via Centrelink’s rent assistance rebate making the lifestyle particularly affordable to retirees on a low income or pension.
Top tier over-50s lifestyle MHEs are gaining popularity and acceptance as viable alternative retirement accommodation option. This is particularly the case in resort areas, and specifically among lower and middle income retirees whose main asset is the family home and who have little, if any, superannuation.
Benefits of owning a Manufactured Home
The affordability of MHEs is driving the increase in popularity among residents. Retirees are able to sell the family home and free up equity, then purchase a manufactured home at 50% to 60% of the cost of an equivalent residential property. This delivers extras spending money for holidays, new businesses, investment opportunities, spending on family and maintenance of a ‘nest egg’.
- Ability to access Commonwealth Government Rental Assistance for over 65’s
- No stamp duty on the purchase of manufactures homes
- No body corporate fees
- No council fees
- More affordable entry prices
- No entry/exit fees
- No additional rates, taxes or Capex sinking fund contributions
- Homes are fully owned by the resident and can be modified or improved
Legislation Provides Security
- Homeowners are fully protected by Government legislation (eg. Residential Tenancy Act (Vic), Residential Land Lease Act (NSW))
Aspects most valued as a resident*
- Social and community benefits
- Security and safety it affords
- Facilities and activities it provides access to
- Friendships they develop with neighbours of similar age and circumstances
- Physical security and safety of a gated community with on-site staff
- Availability of organised social activities and services
- Access to shared areas or facilities such as pools, club houses, and gardens
- Freedom from maintenance and service tasks (e.g. lawn mowing, maintenance of shared facilities)
- Affordability in terms of upfront purchase costs and ongoing living costs
- Pleasant and convenient locations
- Independence of the lifestyle offered
*Note: The above benefits were findings from the Manufactured Homes Survey released in 2013 – over 800 residents participated.
Rising demand for Manufactured Homes Estates (MHE)
With the average retiree income in Australia being very low, the reality is that a large share of senior households cannot afford traditional seniors living accommodation. Given a large number of retirees have had their superannuation balances eroded post the GFC in 2008, the demand for more affordable seniors housing has picked up markedly. Research by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) indicates that there are a significant proportion of persons aged 55+ with no superannuation. For persons aged 55-59 years, 22% have no superannuation while the proportion jumps to 81% for persons aged 75+ (see Superannuation Account Balances chart below).
Similarly, as per the 2016 Census, 65% of persons aged 65+ receive an income less than $33,800 per year, well below the $43,665 threshold for what is considered to provide a comfortable lifestyle for a single person in retirement. With the maximum pension being $437 per week, a large proportion of the population have insufficient funds for retirement living.
Alternatively, a large share of 65+ households own their own home outright. The purchase of a MHE unit would provide an affordable alternative by allowing retirees to trade down, release the capital gains from the sale of the family home and use the remaining funds for retirement.
– Colliers International. Healthcare and Retirement Living Australia. Research and Forecast report. June 2015.
– Department of Housing and Public Works, Queensland Government. Manufactured Homes Survey 2013, Report on Findings. Review of the Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act 2013.
– Colliers International. Manufactured Home Estates. Australian Market Overview, November 2014.
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