Lack of affordable housing for growing elderly population

  • 10/04/2016

The growing population of New Zealand's elderly who can afford housing designed to their needs is a cause for concern, according to the New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI).

The institute says there is a rapidly increasing number of baby-boomers reaching retirement age who have been life-long renters, or cannot afford the lifestyle many new retirement developments offer.

"The current market conditions work against supplying affordable homes for these people," says NZPI chief executive Susan Houston.

Since 1980, the number of people aged 65-years-old and over has doubled, Ms Houston says, from around 550,000 in 2009 to around one million in the late 2020s.

"New Zealand has seen a huge boom in the development of retirement villages to cater for retirees."

A conference has been planned in Dunedin this week to discuss the market's ability to provide affordable elderly housing in areas of highest demand.

More than 500 planners, resource managers, urban designers and environmental practitioners will discuss lifestyle and care needs of retired people in homes, such as smart assistive technology, video-entry phones and handrails to accessible driveways.

"The operational and functional requirements of retirement villages to properly cater for this type of resident are quite different to typical housing developments," says Ms Houston.

Building, Housing and Environment Minister Nick Smith and Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright will be speakers at the conference, running from April 12 to April 15.