Metlifecare, which has 25 retirement villages and nine care homes in the North Island, has sold its Wairarapa Village on Chapel St to focus on expansion in Auckland and the Bay of Plenty.

Yesterday Metlifecare chief executive Glen Sowry said the change of ownership was expected to have "little to no" impact on village residents and staff. In a statement, the company said it was selling the village due to "local market dynamics" and "a less attractive real estate environment". It had decided to focus on areas where it saw the greatest potential, Mr Sowry said.

"We've got a lot of development and growth occurring, particularly around really high-growth areas like the Bay of Plenty and Auckland, so a lot of our focus and emphasis presently is on developing a lot of new villages up in that part of the country. While the Wairarapa village is a really nice village -- it's appealing to the residents and operates well -- we saw this as an opportunity to focus our attention where we saw the most growth occurring."

The company, which has assets totalling more than $2.4 billion, is building in several Auckland locations as well as Tauranga, and hopes to begin work on a new village on the Hibiscus Coast next year. The Wairarapa Village has been sold to a group headed by Mark Durling, the former regional operations manager at Oceania Healthcare, who would be working in partnership with several co-owners, Mr Sowry said.