Eighty-one new retirement villages are planned throughout New Zealand, despite an annual rise of only 0.2 per cent in the number of Kiwis aged 75-plus living in such environments, a new study has found.

Auckland-headquartered real estate and investment management business JLL has issued its Retirement Village Whitepaper which discovered the large number of new villages planned or proposed.

Angela Ye, JLL research analyst said: "The number of retirement villages is growing at a steady pace, as the baby boomer generation reach retirement age. As of November 2017, there were 81 proposed villages in the development pipeline, which would see 12,163 units constructed. However, most of these villages are still in the planning stage."

The white paper said: "The new village development pipeline as at November 2017 had 81 proposed villages with an estimated 12,163 units. A majority of the new proposed retirement villages were at the early planning stage."

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Yet penetration rates - or the numbers of elderly choosing to live in the villages - rose only 0.2 per cent annually.

Last year, JLL said: "Our database combined with Statistics New Zealand's population estimates, indicate a 75 plus years penetration rate of 12.4 per cent in 2016, an increase from the 12.1 per cent recorded in 2015."

In the newest study, the penetration rate for 75-year-olds living in retirement villages was 12.6 per cent.

Yet people living in places like Tauranga might think the rates were far higher due to the number of villages and expansion.

"The highest penetration rates as at November 2017, and thus the largest proportion of the population aged 75-plus years of age living within retirement villages, are located in the Bay of Plenty region with 17.4 per cent, the Auckland region with 15.7 per cent and the Wellington region with 14 per cent. Overall, the national penetration rate is 12.6 percent, with 13.6 percent in the North Island and 10.1 percent in the South Island," JLL said.

"The national 75-plus years penetration rate rose slightly from 12.4 percent as at November 2016 to 12.6 percent in 2017. The number of New Zealand residents aged 75-plus years increased by approximately 11,620, a 4 per cent growth, while the estimated number of retirement village residents increased by 2123 - a 6 per cent growth," the study showed.

Penetration rates differ according to the weather, coastal proximity and population density, the study said.

The 75-plus age group is ballooning and JLL found 81 new villages proposed in New Zealand.

New Zealand has 382 villages, 29,801 units in them and an estimated 38,741 residents.

The six biggest operators are Ryman Healthcare, with 5253 units in 30 villages, Metlifecare, with 3995 units in 25 villages, Summerset, with 2609 units in 20 villages, Bupa, with 1520 units in 35 villages, Oceania, with 1186 units in 28 villages, and Arvida, with 1179 units in 21 villages.

"These operators own approximately 57 per cent market share in New Zealand, with 162 villages and an estimated 17,266 units. 36 per cent of these villages and 45 per cent of the units supplied by the six largest operators are located within the golden triangle of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga," the white paper said.

"There was a strong trend of retirement unit growth across a majority of regions, with the Auckland region capturing 45 per cent of national growth, an increase of 734 units. Village sizes vary greatly across the regions with an average size in Auckland of 117 units compared to 78 units in New Zealand," it said.

The six largest operators have an estimated pipeline of 9161 units planned, with 31 per cent of those in existing villages and 69 per cent at new sites.

Residents in existing villages are seeing big change on many sites: of New Zealand's 382 villages, 82 villages had some level of development pipeline as at last November 2017 and 52 per cent of those 82 villages in the development pipeline were at the commenced stage. The remaining 32 per cent were at the in-planning stage and 16 per cent at the early planning stage.

Auckland now has 84 villages with 9832 units and an estimated 12,782 residents living there. Canterbury is the next largest, with 71 villages and 3877 units which is home for 5040 residents.