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.