Tauranga is benefitting from a ''retirement village construction bonanza'' which will result in thousands of jobs and hundreds of new homes, a sector expert says.
Data from industry valuers Jones Lang LaSalle provided to the Bay of Plenty Times by the Retirement Villages Association shows 1700 units including villas, apartments and serviced apartments are at some stage of the design, consent or construction process.
Meanwhile, business leaders say the ageing population means it ''is a space to watch with interest'' and the local economy will reap benefits.
Retirement Villages Association executive director John Collyns said the developments included three new villages while 10 existing villages were expanding to meet demand.
''The developments will boost jobs and provide new homes for residents over the coming years,'' Collyns said.
Today there were 3090 retirement village units spread across 26 villages in Tauranga City.
''The three new villages will contribute 860 new homes while the 10 expanding ones will add a further 841 units, adding a further 55 per cent to the city's retirement housing stock.''
"The 1700 new units will add more than 2000 construction jobs with a direct investment value of $145.5 million and a downstream (indirect) value of $429.7m. Once they're all up and running, a further 1000 people can be expected to be employed in the day-to-day running of the villages."
Tauranga City has the country's highest market share of retirement village residents – about 31 per cent of the city's +75 population choose to live in a retirement village, he said.
Arvida chief executive Bill McDonald said its state-of-the-art Care Centre and Living Well Apartments at Copper Crest were nearing completion and expected to open at the end of March.
The centre included 44 care suites which will provide rest home / hospital-level care and there were 11 specialised dementia suites as well as 29, one and two-bedroom living well apartments.
''This is a $35 million development with over 100 people employed during peak construction.''
Arvida is building additional villas at Bethlehem Shores, Copper Crest and Bethlehem Country Club.
At Bethlehem Shores more than 70 additional villas will be built and more than 100 care suites and living well apartments.
McDonald said Arvida's vision was ''improving the lives and wellbeing of our residents by transforming the ageing experience''.
Metlifecare chief executive Glen Sowry said it had a number of villages in the Bay including Bayswater, Somervale (and care home), Greenwood Park, Papamoa Beach Village (and care home), The Avenues (and care home).
In September last year, Metlifecare opened two new care homes in Tauranga and Papamoa Beach, both of which are now largely full.
''We also developed the Toitoi wing, our first dementia community, at Papamoa Beach Village. These developments have created a significant number of new jobs for registered nurses, caregivers, chefs, social coordinators and gardeners, and new accommodation options for those in need of care in the local area. ''
The recent lockdowns have also highlighted that life can be difficult for vulnerable older Kiwis living alone, he said.
''We've noticed a spike in the enquiries we receive about our villages straight after each lockdown as retirees recognise the security and benefits of village life, from grocery deliveries and wellbeing calls, to options for entertainment.''
Summerset chief executive Julian Cook said it had invested $150m into a new Papamoa retirement village, which was estimated to create around 60 jobs.
''The first 4 blocks (a total of 13 villas) were completed last month and the first residents moved in last week. We have another five blocks currently under construction.''
"We are supporting families in the region by providing a range of quality care options for the growing retiree population. Summerset by the Dunes, located at Papamoa Beach, offers contemporary villas and townhouses, serviced apartments, care rooms and innovative apartment-style living in the memory care centre, which has been designed to support residents living with dementia."
Heritage Lifecare customer relations general manager Mark Sliper said it had Hodgson House Lifecare and Village in Tauranga and Carter House in Te Puke.
''Both are chocka but we are looking at developing Hodgson House and building more care suites and retirement units.''
Data from Western Bay economic development agency Priority One reveals from January 2015 to July 2020, 995 retirement village unit consents were issued valued at $294 million.
Chief executive Nigel Tutt said the construction and healthcare industries were the largest employing sectors in the Western Bay.
''Retirement village developments aide both of these sectors which is welcome in uncertain economic times. We'll watch this area with interest in the future; an ageing population will create more demand, while higher housing costs relative to other cities may see fewer people move to the area.''
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said the retirement community supports the region's healthcare industry, which is one of the larger industries to the local economy.
''The sector also contributes to our domestic tourism industry when relatives visit from other regions. The growth is driven by New Zealand's changing population demographics, such as population ageing. We're also an attractive place to retire for former Waikato and Auckland residents.''
What is a unit?
* A "unit" in Retirement Village terms, is essentially where someone lives in a village. It can be a stand-alone villa, a townhouse, an apartment or a serviced apartment (the latter also has care delivered to the resident).
* So "unit" is shorthand for all of the above.
* It is distinct from the community facilities, which can include the cafe, cinema, bowling green, community centre, etc. - Source Retirement Village Association