KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) is becoming increasingly popular with retirees, with retirement estates being developed at a rapid pace.

The industry boom can be attributed to the area’s spectacular scenery, climate, quality of lifestyle and amenities, says Arthur Case, chief executive of Evergreen Lifestyle, which is planning to build three new retirement villages in the province.

With a decade of experience in building retirement villages, Evergreen Lifestyle is backed by the Amdec Group and financial services company PSG.

Nationally, it has development plans for 5 000 Evergreen Lifestyle units to be built over the next three to five years. And in KZN alone, Evergreen will build 750 units in Zimbali, 640 in uMhlanga and 458 in Hilton. The first residents of these villages are expected to take occupation in late 2020.

A number of retirement offerings already exist in the province, with even more development under way. The Midlands area boasts picturesque scenery plus a thriving arts, culture and adventure scene, making it an ideal location for spacious retirement estates. The Amber Property Network is a longstanding retirement specialist in Howick in the KZN Midlands. And popular Garlington Village, in Hilton near Pietermaritzburg, offers assisted living within the country estate.

In Ballito, 40 km up the North Coast from Durban, Palm Lakes Retirement Village offers retirement home packages and on-site healthcare within the family estate. Brettenwood Coastal Estate is also a popular choice.

In the uMhlanga area, just north of Durban, Shoreline Sibaya is a resort-style estate with apartments right on the seafront – the main drawcard being the estate’s specialist care centre. And in uMhlanga’s Kindlewood Estate, Mount Edgecombe Retirement Village broke ground in 2017 and will offer specialised Alzheimer and dementia care.

Retire KZN, an initiative launched by Tongaat Hulett, has stimulated over R1 billion in investment in the region. The platform focuses on gaining insight into what it notes as South Africa’s leading retirement destination in order to invest in and drive development of retirement offerings in the region.

Evergreen Lifestyle’s own uMhlanga Ridge development is set on a prime site that will ultimately include a large lifestyle centre, a care centre, and 640 homes and apartments. Residents will have access to a conservation area on the land, which will remain protected. The village is also close to the sea, King Shaka International Airport and Gateway Theatre of Shopping, as well as other amenities.

Case says there is strong, growing demand in the province that is not expected to slow down, and there is significantly more capacity for quality retirement offerings.

“This move into KwaZulu-Natal forms part of our ongoing plans to expand our national footprint,” says Case. “This market is set to grow especially along the North Coast and in the Midlands, which have long proven to be popular destinations for retirees. And despite a relatively large presence of existing retirement facilities, many are already oversubscribed as we are catering for a new style of retirement.”

Most retirees choose to stay close to what they know, near familiar scenery and faces. This is evident in the KZN region as Evergreen Lifestyle has found that the vast majority of people looking to retire in these areas come from surrounding areas in the province as well as Gauteng.

South Africans are living longer than ever before, and typically retiring much later, but at some point past the age of 65 there inevitably comes a transition point when seniors either choose full-blown retirement or decide to downsize.

“For many, this means continuing to work in some capacity from a retirement estate offering a broad range of features like 24-hour security, medical facilities and frail-care, and maintenance teams,” Case concludes.

This article was first published by SA Property News on the 30th January 2019.