Today there’s also more than one ownership option available to retired buyers.
Development, joint owner of trendy mixed-use precinct Melrose Arch in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs, is currently involved in the planning of a number of retirement villages throughout SA.
Its so-called Evergreen Retirement Lifestyle Villages are aimed at the more discerning buyer demanding high-quality retirement living. Amdec chairman John Wilson says there’s a growing need for upmarket retirement villages providing the full spectrum of active lifestyle facilities, lock-up-and-go security and a range of healthcare services, with the option of assisted living.
Wilson says the international norm is becoming one where older people don’t want to be isolated from the rest of the community when they retire. Instead, new generation retirees prefer to remain close to their families, friends, doctors, shopping centres and places of entertainment.
Says Wilson: “With today’s longer life spans the retirement village you select may well be your home for the next 30 years or more. And within that time there could be many changes in your lifestyle, preferences and even health.”
Today there’s also more than one ownership option available to retired buyers. In SA, there are typically four different structures of ownership when buying a unit in a retirement estate: life rights, sectional title, full title and share block.
Life rights: This doesn’t entail actually buying a property. Instead you buy the right to live in a specific unit. As the ownership of the property isn’t transferred but retained by the estate, no transfer duty is payable. Nor are there any registration fees, as there are no title deeds. A life right can’t be bequeathed to an heir, so the right terminates when you leave the village or die.
Sectional title: Gives you outright ownership of a unit. Though you can sell the unit, in some cases you’ll have to forfeit a portion of the resale price to the retirement estate to cover the cost of the services offered or to subsidise the levies.
Full title ownership: You receive title deeds to the property, which includes the area around the unit for your exclusive use. The property is registered in your name. Owners are personally responsible for the services, rates and taxes associated with the property. A monthly levy is paid towards the maintenance of public areas, security and frailcare facilities.
Shareblock: The complex is registered in the name of a share block company and each unit allotted a certain number of shares in the company. You buy shares, which give you the right to use a unit and the complex’s facilities but you don’t own your dwelling. This structure is less commonly used today.