Retirement village accommodation in Rotorua is set to nearly double as new developments take shape and one operator has revealed it's invested about $50 million into expansions.
The Retirement Villages Association of NZ says the Rotorua District has four villages that are either expanding or are new and 268 new units were planned to enhance the existing 358 units.
Meanwhile, business leaders say the developments provide employment opportunities and boosted the city's economy.
Arvida chief executive Bill McDonald said it had been expanding at Glenbrae for the past three years.
New apartments and serviced apartments were now complete and bought the village to its current size of 78 villas, 37 apartments and serviced apartments, and a 41-bed care facility.
''We currently have a build under way for another 16 villas. The total investment in the village when completed is approximately $50 million.''
McDonald said Rotorua was an attractive retirement destination and could lend itself to strong future growth.
''Our residents provide us regular feedback that the key considerations are social connection, no maintenance, fixed fees providing certainty and the strong sense of community and care they have on-site.''
Retirement Villages Association executive director John Collyns said 420 older people lived in Rotorua's retirement villages, which was 9.75 per cent of the +75 population in the district.
Rotorua District has four villages that were either expanding or are new while 268 new units were planned - adding to the existing 358.
"The Bay of Plenty has always been a popular place to retire to – it's sunny, warm, has a great community feel, villages are affordable, and there are excellent health services available should they be needed.''
Residents had also regarded retirement villages as a "safe haven" during Covid-19 and local operators had told the association some people who were already signed up wanted to bring forward their move-in date.
"There was also a significant increase in brand- new inquiries from family overseas or geographically separated from loved ones, who wanted to ensure their parent was in a safe place where they did not have to worry for not being close by."
There were plenty of other reasons why 100 people chose to move to a village somewhere in New Zealand every week, adding to the 45,000 people who already chose to live in one, he said.
"In addition to being affordable and the equity released from the sale of the family home adding thousands of dollars to retirement savings, villages offer warm, comfortable and age-appropriate places for older people to live. Older people can move out of their large, difficult-to-maintain family home and let a new family move in and enjoy it.
"There's companionship, new friends to be made and new things to do in a village. Loneliness is a real challenge for may older people, and villages, a community of like-minded people, are a wonderful way to make new friends.
In Tauranga, Collyns said there were 1700 units including villas, apartments and serviced apartments are at some stage of the design, consent or construction process.
Heritage Lifecare customer relations general manager Mark Sliper said Cantabria Lifecare and Village in Rotorua had every level of care.
''That has village units, apartments, rest home, hospital and dementia facilities. ''
At the moment it was developing a wing of care suites and it was looking at expanding its dementia unit as well.
Rotorua Lakes Council operations group manager Jocelyn Mikaere said, generally speaking, retirement developments provide both short and long-term employment opportunities.
''These are positive for the economy and increase Rotorua's housing stock with retirees moving into retirement villages freeing up their previous homes.''
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard said ''this is good news''.
''With the baby boomers now entering the retirement age group, there is a growing demand for this type of accommodation. It is a safe investment for this reason and has to be good from any perspective, be it job creation, manaakitanga, economic activity, infrastructure, as well as heading off another potential housing crises, for the elderly.''
Rotorua Retirement Village Consents
* Lynmore Rise 15 units – $216,000 each
* Glenbrae Retirement Village care suite - $2 million total
* Glenbrae Retirement Village 12 new units - $3.6 million total
* Bupa Retirement Village Te Ngae Rd 12 units - $1.9 million total
Note: Data is for the last three years - Source Rotorua Lakes Council
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