Greater transparency in retirement property industry required to attract institutional investment: Retire Australia

Stephen TaylorOctober 8, 20130 min read

Leading figures in the retirement property industry say there needs to be more transparency in the sector to attract institutional investment now and in the long term.

Tim Russell, managing director of Retire Australia, said the sector was a poor performer that was being held back by not having a large, publicly listed, sector-specific company in which to invest.

“Some of the institutional capital that has been attracted to the sector has been let down by poor performance,” Russell told UK Property Week in a recent issue.

“Capital is still attracted [to the sector] but there are issues around pricing and transparency.”

According to Russell, the biggest opportunities will come when one of the larger operators lists.

“I hope we will have a large, listed, sector-specific operator in the next few years, as that will increase transparency for investors,” he said.

Russell compares the Australian retirement landscape with that of New Zealand, where he says several large sector-specific operators are on the public market — and all of which, he says, trade at a premium to their asset values.

However, Russell is hopeful that a large retirement operator will list in the next few years, noting that FKP Property Group is considering spinning off and listing its retirement arm and that the interest shown in the small-cap Ingenia shows the appetite is there.

A big challenge for the operators in the sector is moving from providing accommodation and maintenance to also providing care packages.

Derek McMillan, chief executive officer of Australian Unity’s retirement living, said there was great opportunity economically for retirement villages to provide care packages because of the concentration of numbers at each village.

He added that this would give operators another source of income and smooth out bumpy cash flows as a result of having a model that only really made money when units were resold.

He hopes the new federal government will ‘’cut some of the red tape’’ that prevents retirement village operators from providing care.

“It was very frustrating with the last government,” McMillan said. “While they had a philosophical approach towards improving access to care … they made a lot of noise but there was no real movement.”

Stephen Taylor

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Find out more in our privacy policy.
Accept Cookies