Retiring in the West Coast, Where & How

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Article By: Tian van Taak

The West Coast has long been attractive to investors when looking for a retirement town or area, but never has this been more true than now. The last 10 years have seen an economic boom in this beautiful area and as a result, private schools and private medical care have followed. The fact that you are for some areas less than an hour away from Cape Town has made the West Coast a very attractive option for a soon-to-be-retired individual.

There’s a lot to think about when planning for your retirement years. It might seem like something you only need to ponder later in life, but with living longer it’s preferable to think about your plans from as young as possible.

This can be as simple as saving for when you’re older or investigating the options available for retirement living.

1. Consider your options

There are various factors to consider in terms of where you will live when you retire. First, you must look at purchase models. In South Africa, the two main models found in retirement estates are investing in freehold or sectional title properties or purchasing a Life Right. Look at the affordability of the unit you’re looking to purchase, the levies involved, and whether there are care facilities in place (as well as the costs involved). You also want to look at the lifestyle that your estate offers. Is it safe and secure? Are there frail care options? And what lifestyle amenities and activities are available?

2. Think about all financial considerations

You must consider your ongoing living expenses when you retire. Many retirement estate residents worry that they will outlive their assets. Look at the levies you will need to pay and the estimated increases. If you are opting for the Life Right model, you should also consider the shareholder credentials and whether they are well capitalised. Evergreen Lifestyle, for example, is backed by PSG and the Amdec Group. What you don’t want is to purchase a Life Right from a company that is under financial distress as they own the property itself, even if you own the right to live in it.

3. Consider the scale of your retirement option

In smaller retirement estates, the levies tend to be higher. The bigger the estate, the lower your levies will be. Going forward Evergreen Lifestyle estates will be built on a larger scale, offering between 600 and 800 units, to combat high levies. This is important as ongoing levies are a serious factor for residents as they get older and might not have the means to pay rising fees.

4. Think about long-term value for money
You don’t know how long you’ll be around after you retire so you want to be certain that you are set up for the long-term. If you’re looking for an investment, a Life Right certainly isn’t it. But from a financial perspective, it offers peace of mind as it is secure for the remainder of your life and your partner’s life. No transfer duty or VAT is payable on purchase. Levies are generally lower than your typical sectional title retirement village as the developer owns the property and is responsible for major structural maintenance, this also means no special levies are applicable. It is essentially a partnership for life. And if you run into a financial strain or require additional finances for frail care, there is also the option to tap into the initial capital you put in. With a Life Right, you also gain a long-term commitment from the developer to ensure that the property is well maintained as it is in their best interest to keep their properties looking good.

5. How much space do you need?

People typically look to downsize a family home when it becomes a burden to maintain. From a financial perspective, this makes sense. There is also a knock-on effect to owning a larger property: the bigger the house, the higher the costs. But, whatever age you are, if you have too much space, you should consider downsizing. If you’re not using your space, you’re wasting the space and the money.

With that in mind, we have posted the question to some of the estate agents on the West Coast and asked them what the options are in this region.

Question:

The West Coast is becoming more and more popular with the retired or the elderly demographic, what options or opportunities do these people have when looking to buy a property on the West Coast?

Answer:
We are pleasantly surprised that the demographics of the West Coast have changed from a predominantly destination for holidaymakers and retirees to an ideal place to live and work from home.

The retiree’s safety and the low crime rate are one of the main attractions of St Helena Bay. Medical services, a new pharmacy, and the availability of amenities bring peace of mind to the elderly. St Helena Bay also offers various shuttle services to the airport and Cape Town. The affordable lifestyle is ideal for pensioners.

For holidaymakers and young families that work from home, the breathtaking scenery, beaches, and watersports ad to the lifestyle they desire. Organised activities like kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, and fishing appeal to the younger generation. Of these, the West Coast Comino is the latest addition.
Although the increased demand for properties on the West Coast raised the values of properties it is still one of the places where you can get the best value for money.

Answered by Karin Holloway – Property Practitioner Seeff St Helena Bay

Velddrif, Laaiplek, and Dwarskersbos are very popular as retirement destinations. It is safe, quiet, and peaceful with beautiful surroundings to enjoy.

People are getting much older than 20 years ago. If you are healthy, it is better to stay longer in your house, rather than moving to an old age home. Old Age Homes as we know it will soon become a frail care facility only and it will be very difficult to find a bed. Generally, retirement villages are also very expensive for the ordinary person.

So, to find a smaller home, or if possible, a flatlet at your child’s home, might be the next option.

Luckily in Velddrif, we have different options. Aan Oewer Aftree Oord offers more affordable homes. Although there is no Frail Care facility,

it is a gated community and safe. The Village is another option, slightly more expensive, but there is also a Frail Care facility, Grace Medical Centre. Spoonbill is another facility where you buy a Life Right and also more affordable if you choose this option. In Atlantic Waves, they are building Duet houses, which are two units on one plot. This makes maintenance much easier as it is a smaller property, you still live in a ‘normal’ community where there is a mix of young and old, yet your next-door neighbour is close by.

There are currently a few houses with a flatlet attached, but it is becomes more popular as people realize the importance of either a second income or the care of an elderly parent. There is a big need for smaller houses in our area. Unfortunately, it often means rezoning and extra capital, which immediately increases the cost. To all young people: 60 or 70 might feel lightyears from now, but start to plan your old age today, as most elderly people outlive their money.

Answered by Jomarie Louw – Chas Everitt Velddrif – Laaiplek – Port Owen – Dwarskersbos