Retiring to South Africa: Retirement Villages in South Africa

retirement villages south africaWith retirement visa requirements and your pension covered in our Retiring to South Africa series, we now turn our attention to more basic matters – finding a home.

Your perfect home could be a free-standing house in a suburb or it could be a house in one of the many retirement villages in South Africa.

Living in retirement villages has proven to be very popular with foreign retirees, so today we’ll take a closer look at what you can expect from South African retirement villages.

Retirement villages in South Africa

Here’s the first thing you should know about our retirement villages:

They are not old age homes.

Retirement villages in South Africa are purpose-built communities for retirees. The focus is on lifestyle elements as much as accommodation. That’s why you’ll find these amenities at all the best retirement villages:

  • State-of-the-art security measures, such as CCTV surveillance, intercom systems and 24-hour security guards.
  • Central heating.
  • Air-conditioning.
  • Fully-fitted kitchens.
  • Wi-Fi connections.
  • Medical and dental clinics.
  • Nursing services.
  • Laundry and housekeeping services.
  • Spa and gym facilities.
  • Handyman services.
  • Free local transport.
  • Sports facilities, such as swimming pools, tennis courts and golf courts.

Obviously you are concerned with accommodation too. Your choice of housing will include:

  • apartments,
  • townhouses and
  • villas

in most South African retirement villages. This selection lets you downsize or continue your lifestyle at the same scale as in your home country.

Main ownership options

There are three main options when you want to buy a home in a retirement village. Each offers its own set of responsibilities and advantages.

1. Sectional Title

The term ‘sectional title’ describes the separate ownership of units or a section within a complex or development. In this case, the development would be the retirement village.

When you choose to buy into a sectional title development, you purchase a section or sections together with an undivided share of the common property. This individual sections are known as units.

2. Share Block

With a ‘share block’ you do not exclusively own the unit you have ‘purchased’. Instead, you own shares in the company that owns the residence. You will be issued with a share certificate.

As a shareholder, you will play a role in the management of the company through a general shareholders meeting. Generally a levy fund is established to which shareholders contribute in order for the company to meet its running expenses.

The ‘share block’ scheme is not popular in South Africa. Most retirees in South Africa prefer sectional titles.

3. Life Right Purchase or Life Right Rental

‘Life Rights’ mean that instead of purchasing a unit, you secure the legal right to occupy the unit for the rest of your life. The retirement village and all its facilities remain both an asset and the responsibility of the developer.

Getting help with your search for a home

Senior Service is a comprehensive directory of retirement facilities in South Africa. A quick search on the website will deliver numerous options in cities and towns across the country.

You could also contact SAHomeBuyers if you are interested in a sectional title. SAHomeBuyers specialise in searching for houses and evaluating sale offers on behalf of buyers.

Next week is the final article in our Retiring to South Africa series!

In our fourth and final article in this series, we’ll look at another basic, but important matter – your health. More specifically, medical aid in South Africa.

Be sure to check in next week Friday to find out more. Alternatively, like our Facebook page, where we will also be posting the article.