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What is a retirement property? (A comprehensive guide)

To begin the new year we’re taking it right back to basics, what is a retirement property?

In short, retirement properties are purpose-built homes intended for the over 55 community seeking an independent lifestyle, with care and support on hand if needed. These properties are built within complexes called Integrated Retirement Communities (IRC’s) that have facilities on-site that are designed to support residents. As more and more purpose built retirement properties are built in this country, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide. Here we’ll delve into what retirement properties in the UK entail, their benefits, types, and what you should consider when choosing one.

What is a retirement property

Types of properties ExtraCare offers:

  • One and two bedroom apartments
  • One bedroom studio apartments (select locations)
  • Two and three bedroom cottages (select locations)
  • One and two bedroom bungalows (select locations)

Benefits of living in a retirement community

1. The people

One thing you can be sure of when moving into a retirement community is that you will always have people that are around you and there for you. In our research studies with Aston and Lancaster Universities, we learnt that 86.5% of our residents “were never or hardly ever lonely.”

We often hear the saying “loneliness is the biggest killer” but at ExtraCare we choose to be proactive about this and do our utmost to make sure that isn’t the case in our communities. Brunswick Gardens Village resident Lin Fowler told us how the village rallied round her when her husband passed away: “This place supported me after I lost my husband. When Ken passed away the village even had a plaque put up for him in the bar, the place he loved and where we spent such happy times. I can go and visit it whenever I like. There’s friendship everywhere here, you’re not lonely, in any ExtraCare village you have as much privacy or friendship as you want. I’ve got all the support I need and that’s the beauty of living at a retirement village.”

What is a retirement property
Lin Fowler

We also have befriending volunteer roles which particularly took off during the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlsdon Park Village befriending volunteer Lesley said: “When I first started talking to Doreen it was during the pandemic and we talked on the phone, once a week usually for about 45 minutes to an hour. We spoke every Tuesday afternoon. When the restrictions were eased we met for a cuppa every Tuesday afternoon in the village.”

2. Feeling safe and secure

In March 2023, ExtraCare carried out research into what current residents across our Integrated Retirement Communities value the most. We gave 158 participants a list of 13 answers which they prioritised in order of importance for them personally, with ‘safety and security’ coming out on top.

Here are some safety measures that ExtraCare put in place:

  • Professional staff
  • Access control
  • Community support
  • Maintenance and accessibility

We understand however that “safety and security” can mean different things to different people. Have a read of this article for further detail on how we prioritising safety and security.

3. Access to on-site facilities

At ExtraCare, we pride ourselves on the extensive range of facilities offered to residents and the wider community. Whether people want to learn new skills, challenge themselves, or simply relax in the company of friends, the ExtraCare lifestyle and its facilities are proven to improve both the physical and mental health of our residents.


Dementia & Wellbeing Suite

Woodwork Room

Village Shop

Multi-function Games Room

Library/IT Suite


Licensed Bar

Guest Suite


Dementia and Mental Wellbeing Service


Hobby Room

Communal Parking

Beauty salon

Village Hall



Indoor Bowling Green and Winter Garden

Yoga Studio


4. Maintenance free living

Most retirement properties cover maintenance and upkeep of communal areas as well as services for individual units, which massively reduces the burden on residents. ExtraCare is no different and provides this service, but just to be clear we do have two separate charges for this.

  • Village Facilities Charge/Service Charge: Costs associated with maintaining the communal areas, such as: fire alarms, entry phone system and emergency lighting repair; communal area cleaning; rubbish collection, disposal and pest control; insurances; staff time for organising these services.
  • Apartment Maintenance Charge/Management Charge: (this is included in rental costs for rented apartments and will be a separate charge for purchase and shared ownership homes) This covers some tasks associated with the day-to-day maintenance of your home and the management time associated with these tasks. The charge also includes your building insurance (but not contents insurance). Full details will be given to you when you make your application.

Considerations when choosing a retirement property

Where is the best place to live in retirement?

This varies massively from person to person, there’s no one size fits all answer. When choosing where to live in retirement though, we advise the first things you should consider are proximity to family, healthcare facilities, amenities, and transport links.

What are the costs of living in a retirement village?

At ExtraCare, our principal aim is to ensure that we can offer our residents a truly rewarding lifestyle at a cost that is affordable and fair for all. Our retirement property prices are representative of the area in which they are situated, meaning prices could fluctuate depending on the housing market at the time.

In addition to your property purchase there are on-going monthly charges. These will also vary according to your location and consist of:

  • Service Charge
  • Management Charge
  • Amenity Charge
  • Community Charge

We recently sat down with our in-house Welfare Benefits Advisor, Natalie, to discuss how she can help find many residents financial relief. Read more here.

What facilities are important to you?

When choosing where to live in retirement a factor to consider should be your future needs. You might be able to drive to the shops now, but this may not be the case in ten years’ time. Convenience is a must, and many would say having everything you need within a close proximity is essential in this stage of life. This is why our communities are all purposely situated close by to amenities, and many of our locations have onsite facilities meaning you don’t even have to leave your village!

To conclude, retirement properties in the UK are popping up more and more frequently now, providing many options for those seeking a secure, supportive, and enjoyable lifestyle in their later years. From completely independent living to assisted care, these properties cater to various needs and preferences, and choosing the right one for you involves careful consideration of location, facilities, costs, and future requirements.

Discover Later Living brochure

Bournville Gardens Village
Lark Hill bistro
Wixams Retirement Village
Lovat Fields village hairdressers
Shenley Wood village greenhouse
Disputing the misconceptions about retirement village
Planning for retirement healthcare costs UK