“Retirement Housing Review – Audley”

I started this thread about retirement housing when I wrote a post a few weeks ago on a very upmarket scheme in London.  Following that I wrote about the key issues that are driving the future of this market (you can see my earlier posts by clicking on “Retirement Housing” in the Topics list).

I am now going to have a more in depth look at some of the options currently on offer.   My first example is one of the market leaders in the luxury end of the market:-

Audley Retirement Villages

This is an organisation I have known about and worked alongside for many years.   I first met their Chief Executive – Nick Sanderson when he was developing “Close Care Housing” with Beaumont Healthcare.   They had an upmarket, high quality approach to housing with care as an alternative to residential care.

They have now moved in to luxury retirement housing and currently have 12 schemes around the country from Kent through the Midlands and up to Yorkshire.   They provide leasehold flats and houses, often centred around an historical building which forms the focal point of their developments.

Their website is very comprehensive and gives most of the information you might need to consider purchasing one of their properties.   Here are some of the key facts drawn from their website:-

  • Their schemes range in size from 80 to a 100 units; they’re generally constructed in a series of phases over several years;
  • Their communal facilities are extensive and include a lounge, library, bistro/restaurant, fitness centre and a swimming pool;
  • Individual properties are mainly two-bedroom apartments of around 800 sq. ft. which is a very generous size.   There are a few smaller one-bedroom apartments and some larger two/three bed flats with study/office rooms.   On most sites, they also have two storey houses / cottages, which I personally don’t like because stairs are a barrier in future years;
  • Purchase prices vary with each scheme location and when they were built.   Here are some of the two-bedroom apartments currently available:-
    • Leamington Spa                 £410k to £435k
    • Yorkshire                             £380k to £495k
    • Derbyshire                           £395k to £450k
    • Buckinghamshire               £555k
    • Berkshire                             £595k to £635k
    • Birmingham                        £614k

In addition you pay an annual ground rent of £500 and a Deferred Management Charge when you leave / die, it is 1% of the resale price for every year you have lived in the scheme.     So the initial capital cost is quite high for a two-bedroom flat and rises significantly in areas further south.   Also there is a considerable exit price, albeit that this should enable Audley to charge a lower annual service charge.

  • Service charges vary from scheme to scheme but seem to average around £700 per month.   You may also pay an extra charge of £100 annually for a parking space.   So at £8,500 a year this is relatively expensive, although it does include an allowance which pays for some meals in the restaurant.   The website has a useful price calculator that enables you to make a comparison to your current household costs.
  • Domiciliary Care and Support.  Audley are relatively unusual in employing directly their own homecare team.   They provide everything from housekeeping to personal care right through to escorting people to appointments and social activities.   All of which is personalised and charged by the hour.

Overall I would say Audley has a distinctive niche at the luxury end of the market.

They have recently announced their intention to develop a “medium range offer”.   It will be interesting to see how this differs from the current provision.

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One Response to “Retirement Housing Review – Audley”

  1. A most interesting ‘blog’, thought provoking, and finger up bum time!
    Before molly and I moved into out retirement village in Milton Keynes, we had or did consider many things, some small, some frightening, scarery.. We looked at many alternatives, and disgusted with the broader family, what they would wish in retirement?
    WE were left with:
    1 Holiday/ caravan/bungalow sites on the coast or in pleasant countryside places, some remote from services (Transport; NHS; shopping, and general day to day amenities)
    2 Retirement schemes-Housing bungalows ( some 30-60 housing units on a site with a warden), within a local/town community.
    3 A retirement multistory block accommodation, with personal flats, but a common front door and warden ( some 60- maybe 100 units within) . usually within a town or local community.
    4 Dedicated care homes and nursing homes- These were generally within a community, and as residents while able one was able to visit local social events, the main focus was on making the individual residents feel safe-either within themselves, or at the request of the residents personal family.
    Theses were the options I was personally aware off throughout my life time, together with council run old age bungalows, warden controlled housing. A mind set of what I might expect one retired for those over 65, not working.
    Then as I/molly and I looked around, we across alternatives to these ideas, not necessarily within our location?
    A/ A retirement complex consisting (within a local community) of flats/housing to buy/rent, – some 60-100 units an attached nursing/care home proving two aspects of care; I] support if one became ill, infirmed, temporally or permanently, with the option to transfer into the care unit: and ii] a third option so one was not removed from the community(within the same complex) a MRI 30-60 bedded unit for end of life care, if this was a diagnosis.
    B/ A retirement village/park usually within parkland, consisting of housing ( a central multi-storey complex with club house, and surrounding two level/one level housing units, some times within a gated community, and again it could be somewhat remote from local amenities (Shops/ social centres Etc,)
    This interestingly enough brought back a few sharp memories for me personally, as a young ‘go getter’ I suffered two nervous breakdowns, and was referred to ‘Retreats’ (Mental homes). The ones I refer too were on in the West Riding, and one in Hertfordshire (Two separate occasions)
    Here the grounds were beautiful, quiet, ample room to move around in, and extended for some acres -Remote from the local communities, secluded, but very peaceful. Two aspects here relevant, to old age accommodation. In my day the homeless or unfortunate, were housed, firstly in the central complex, where they were assessed and helped and returned back to normal living within their own community, or transferred to smaller units detached and independent from the main complex [ a series of some smaller units, with 10-13 persons (Mixed sexes)], where they further recuperated, or remained for the rest of their natural days or were returned to their own social environment within the greater community.
    C/ OR One could read about the landed gentry, be ensconced in one’s castle, have servants, valets, and chauffer’s, cooks and housemaids, and grow old disgracefully.
    All of these mixed emotions, financial considerations one has to weigh up, plus the emotional family commitments and ties. When one retires, what does one do???
    From my personal aspect and Molly’s it is people around one within a community, who can support, natter too, socialise with, offer contrasting experiences and opinions, but have one common goal to live an independent lifestyle within a caring community, and be a very good friend and neighbour- a responsible human being..
    It does cost, but if one has lived modestly it is affordable, and the Extracare Charitable Trust with its retirement villages and domiciliary care, have to my experience so far considered all the above, and come up Trumps!! Moly and I are very happy.

    Just one foot note, I notice on the web all the retirement villages are dotted around the UK, but hardly any within the Greater London Area. Do we as Brits earn or owe our living to the City and Greater area of London, and wish to return to our roots as country folk? answers on a postcard please.

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