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Who are the Retirement Village players in NZ

Posted on : Jun 16, 2022

Who are the Retirement Village players in New Zealand? 

While we have many organisations involved in retirement living, there are a few dominant players in the New Zealand market. We briefly look at the options, including three of the "Big 6" companies: Ryman, Summerset & Metlifecare.

Commercially run, these organisations are located all across Aotearoa and have established communities connected to them. These companies have a 'continuum of care' approach offering both care homes and independent living homes within their villages.

The rest of the retirement living options on offer are either independent, family owned, not-for-profit or under an owner/operator leadership structure, tending to have fewer locations across the country.

Independent villages can have multiple sites like the bigger companies, but generally differ in the way they are structured financially. For example, Karaka Pines follows a New Generation model in order to offer their residents capital gain when they leave the village. Others focus
on capping the weekly rates residents pay and ceasing village tariffs as soon as individuals leave. However, many don't and it's important that you know the Key Terms offered by the villages you may be considering (read our 'Deciding on the Best Village' article). One benefit of these independently owned villages is their ability to have their own flavour, “independent” from the commercial needs of franchise.

Owner-operated retirement villages are managed and owned by the same people and/or organisation. This provides an authentic way for residents to ensure the broader commercial vision of the home is being implemented by the same people who designed it. This includes villages like Omokoroa Country Estate, Richmond Villas & Speldhurst Estate to name a few.

Finally, non-commercial entities such as trusts and religious groups also provide an alternative to mainstream options. This includes established locations such as Archer Village, St Andrews Village and Selwyn.

While these not-for-profit organisations still charge residents for general maintenance and living costs, any surplus is invested straight into the village - meaning no outside investors or stakeholders receive a profit. These villages also can have “special character” often being aligned to a denomination or religion.

While there is a relatively wide selection of village and care operators to choose from, nearly 60% of the total national village units in the market are owned by only six providers, commonly referred to as ‘The Big 6’. According to a 2019 JLL Report “Ryman has the largest average village size at 195 units per village, with Metlifecare just behind at 182 units and Summerset with 157 units.” The report continues by noting that Ryman and Summerset have a high proportion of their villages across the country offering care, where as Metlifecare is predominantly Auckland focussed with only just over 50% of its villages offering continuum of care. The other three, Arvida, Oceania & Bupa offer a range of both independent living & continuum of care.

If you’re wondering where the popular spots are for retirement village living, then you would look no further than the Bay of Plenty. With 19% of the 75+ age population living in a retirement or lifestyle village it is considered the retirement hub, followed by Auckland (18.1%) and Gisbourne
(17.1%). The national average is 13.9% of people 75+ years of age in villages.

At the time of the 2019 report, the Big 6 had almost 12,000 new units in development or pending with a total of 90 new villages, across all providers, in the wings.

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