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The pros and cons of coastal retirement

by | Jun 20, 2011

Coastal retirement seems like everyone’s idea of paradise: beach walks, dips in the ocean and, of course, the view. But is your plan to buy a property that will appreciate in value so you can sell it later on? Or are you thinking of staying put for good?

“Retirees need to weigh up their options to ensure they make a sound investment,” says Jason Rohde, CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty South Africa. “They need to think with their heads, not their hearts.

“If you buy a house that meets your needs now, will it still meet your needs in 10 years’ time? What if you buy a large home so your children and grandchildren can holiday with you, but you rattle around in it and struggle with its upkeep when you’re alone?”

Rohde also advised that the prospective buyer look at facilities. “When retiring to the coast, especially a small coastal town, one must ensure that the basic infrastructure, which is often taken for granted in a major metropolitan region, is in place. For instance, what are the standards and location of major hospitals, sporting facilities and so on,” he says.

The retirement village option
Retirees frequently have the dilemma of not knowing whether to buy in a retirement village or not.

Rohde recommends you consider what you want from your retirement. If security and a sense of community make sense to you, village living might be ideal.

“A survey of residents in retirement villages in KwaZulu-Natal shows that security is the main reason why people choose retirement communes,” says Rohde. “They also like the availability of assisted care, as well as the social opportunities. When your family is geographically dispersed, members of your village community become the next best thing.”

On the other hand, if the idea of a communal dining room, clubhouse or pool doesn’t appeal, you might well prefer to choose a free-standing home that is nevertheless close to local amenities like hospitals and shopping centres. Consider, though, that a body corporate responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of properties may make a retirement village more appealing.

Tips for potential buyers:

  • Homes with a sea view hold their value and are always in higher demand.
  • Homes in secure estates and villages are in demand and represent a sound investment.
  • A home with easy access to the beach, hospitals, shopping centres, golf courses, tennis clubs and bowling clubs will be easier to sell.
  • Newer homes are built with materials and components that can withstand coastal weather and humidity so your maintenance needs won’t be as high.
  • “You are never too old to invest in property,” says Rohde. “When a retiree looks at property the most important aspect is what yield this investment can return over a yearly basis. From renting out a small two-bedroom apartment to a 1 000m² factory, if you have done your due diligence before purchasing, a more than satisfactory return can be achieved on your investment.”


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Maya Fisher-French author of Money Questions Answered


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