Industry experts are calling for a “renewed focus” on residential parks and retirement villages to help reach housing targets and increase affordability.

The president of the Queensland Manufactured Home Owners Association and resident of a Bethania residential park, Roger Marshall, said both housing types have a “significant role to play” in easing the housing crisis.

“They’re proven to be an attractive option for older Australians to downsize, which releases their homes for younger families,” Mr Marshall said.

“They’re an excellent business model for people who build them and run them, and until the last five-to-ten years, they were going really well as affordable living.

“The issue now is the large corporations that have moved into the industry are building luxury homes.

“The association doesn’t see anything wrong with that – we’re not saying that should be stopped – but there’s got to be some way of filling the gap and building homes for people on low-to-moderate retirement incomes, the way these parks were done in the past.”

He said a solution to this would be to consider alternative ownership models and “different business models”.

Currently, those living in residential parks own their homes, but lease the land it sits on and pay additional service fees.

Retirement villages have also been flagged as potential affordability saviours.

While similar to residential parks, retirement villages charge an “exit fee” when unit-owners sell.

“The attractive thing about residential parks is that they are a good business model and are easier to be developed,” Mr Marshall said.

“There are currently 10,000 planned for Queensland in the next 10 years.”

New Australian Bureau of Statistics data has shown an increase in the number of retired Australians and an increase in those concerned about retirement income.

In response, the executive director of the Retirement Living Council, Daniel Gannon, said the government needed to “double down” on affordable, age-friendly housing.

“This report tells us what we already know – Australia is fast approaching a ‘silver tsunami’, bringing with it significant socio-economic challenges for the nation,” Mr Gannon said.

“Given household debt and financial security are impacting the age at which Australians are retiring, suitable and affordable housing options are more important than ever.

“Unfortunately, a rapidly growing number of Australians are retiring with mortgage debt while the aged pension remains the main source of income for most retirees.”

He said units in retirement communities were on average 48 per cent cheaper than median house prices in the same postcode.

“… meaning these communities can help address retirement income challenges,” he said.

“There is also an important role older Australians can play within housing markets when they consider ‘rightsizing’ into homes better designed and suited to their ageing needs.

“This serves a dual purpose in freeing up housing stock for younger aspiring home buyers, but it also frees up retirement income given the affordability value proposition of retirement communities.”

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