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  1. Blog
  2. What is a retirement property?
Advice about properties
12 April 2024

What is a retirement property?

Sam Edwards
Senior Writer & Researcher
An elderly lady sitting on a bed behind a moveable table.

Table of contents

  1. 1. What is a retirement property?
  2. 2. Retirement property features
  3. 3. Types of retirement properties
  4. 4. Benefits of retirement properties
  5. 5. Retirement property costs
  6. 6. Find the right retirement property
  7. 7. Dispose of property assets with the right expert
  8. 8. Summary: For continuing your retirement in peace

As we approach our twilight years, the prospect of retirement often leads to new lifestyle choices, like where and how to live.

For many, the prospect of moving into a form of assisted living can be scary. But retirement properties can be an attractive housing option, tailored to their specific needs.

So what exactly is a retirement property, and what benefits do these properties offer?

What is a retirement property?

A retirement property (also known as a retirement home or retirement community) is a housing option designed for older adults, typically aged 60 and above. These homes come in a number of shapes and sizes, including retirement flats, bungalows, or houses, and are typically located within purpose-built retirement communities.

The Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC) estimates that there are over 620,000 units of retirement housing (including both ‘independent living for older people’ schemes and extra care housing schemes) in England alone.

Retirement property features

Retirement properties are designed with the unique needs of older adults in mind. Most offer features and amenities aimed at providing a self-contained living space for residents. Some common features include:


Retirement properties are often designed to be accessible and age-friendly, with features like step-free entrances, wider doorways, and grab-bars in bathrooms to accommodate mobility challenges.

Community spaces

Many retirement properties are part of a greater collective. A retirement village has on-site facilities such as lounges, gardens, and social areas where residents can socialise, participate in activities, and build friendships.

A supportive community does a lot for a resident's sense of security and overall quality of life.

On-site services

Some retirement villages provide on-site services such as maintenance, cleaning, and gardening, alleviating the burden of household chores for residents and allowing them to enjoy retirement living.

Safety and security

Security features such as gated entrances, CCTV cameras, and emergency call systems provide peace-of-mind for residents and their families, ensuring a safe environment.

Wellness facilities

Most retirement villages offer communal areas such as gyms, swimming pools, and fitness classes to promote physical health and well-being among residents.

Types of retirement properties

There are several types of retirement properties available in the UK, catering to different preferences and lifestyles:

  1. Independent living: Retirement housing that specialises in independent living is suitable for active seniors who value their independence. These homes offer private accommodation within a community or village setting, with extra support services available as needed.
  2. Assisted living: Assisted living retirement properties are designed for seniors who require some assistance with daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, or personal care. Residents in assisted living properties have access to on-site support services provided by trained staff members. You can find retirement properties
  3. Extra care housing: Extra care housing, also known as sheltered housing or 'retirement villages', offers a higher level of support and care for seniors who have more complex health or care needs. These properties typically provide 24-hour on-site care and support services tailored to individual requirements.

Benefits of retirement properties

Choosing a retirement property offers several benefits for older adults:

  • Community: Retirement properties foster a sense of community and belonging, providing opportunities for social interaction and engagement with peers.
  • Peace of mind: The safety and security features of retirement properties, along with access to support services, offer peace of mind for residents and their families.
  • Maintenance paid for: Properties typically include maintenance and gardening services, allowing residents to enjoy a hassle-free lifestyle without the responsibilities of homeownership.
  • Easy access to facilities: Many retirement properties offer a range of amenities and facilities on-site, promoting an active and fulfilling lifestyle for residents.
  • Continuum of care: Some retirement homes provide a continuum of care, allowing residents to transition between independent living, assisted living, and nursing care as their needs change over the years.

Retirement property costs

While retirement properties offer appealing options for older adults, they typically come with significant financial considerations. Monthly fees for these properties range from £1000 to £6000, excluding additional expenses like bills.

Additional fees and costs

  • Leasehold fees: Most retirement homes and villages operate on a leasehold basis, necessitating an annual fee for ground rent, which can range from a few hundred pounds to £400 - £500 per year.
  • Repairs and improvements: Contingency fees are also common, allocated for unexpected costs such as repairs and improvements to communal areas.
  • Gas and electricity: Utility bills, including gas and electricity, remain the responsibility of the resident. The average annual gas and electricity bills for a three-bedroom property in 2023 were £239.22.
  • Council Tax: Another expense to factor in is Council Tax, which varies depending on location and property value.
  • Additional living costs: Living costs should not be overlooked; aside from direct fees from the retirement property provider, budgeting for everyday expenses is essential.
  • Care costs: One significant draw of retirement homes is the availability of nursing care and similar support. While this ensures comfort and assistance as needs increase, quality care does come at a cost, albeit often more affordable than nursing home alternatives.

Find the right retirement property

With a wide variety of options, it can be difficult finding the right home for your family or friends.

If you're finding it difficult to decide where's best, try Lottie, the UK's leading care home comparison site. Secure your loved one's future and find the nearest and best locations for assisted living.

Dispose of property assets with the right expert

If you've inherited a property you don't know what to do with, sometimes selling is the only option. But properties come in all shapes and sizes, and the conditions of local markets can change at the drop of a hat.

Make sure you're selling with the best by comparing estate agents in your local area. GetAgent's comparison service examines the past performance of nearby experts to tell you:

  • Who is the fastest seller in your area
  • Who has the most listed properties in your area
  • Who consistently sells for asking price in your area
Compare estate agents

It takes 2 minutes.

Summary: For continuing your retirement in peace

Retirement properties are a useful housing solution for older adults. With many different sizes and specialisations, they're ideal for enhancing the quality of life of friends and family. Whether they're an independent lifestyle or requiring more specialised care, retirees have plenty of options to choose from!

Thinking about
selling your home?

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Thinking about
selling your home?

Picking the right estate agent is vital for a successful sale. GetAgent makes choosing simple. Discover the best performing agents in your area.

  • Free
  • Data-driven
  • No obligation

Compare estate agents

It takes 2 minutes.

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