What’s the difference? Lifestyle resorts versus retirement villages

GemLife over-50s luxury lifestyle resort compare

There are many differences between over-50s lifestyle resorts and retirement villages – quite a few may surprise you. So, let’s dive in!

Age is certainly a big consideration. Retirement villages, where you must be semi-retired or retired to qualify for entry, require you to be over 55 to move in – and this tends to skew residents older. But residents of over 50s resorts don’t need to be retired to buy a home within a resort. They can still be working full or part-time and this attracts more active, younger buyers who have chosen resort living not because they want to slow down, but because they want to downsize their responsibilities to upsize their lifestyle.

Age aside, the biggest difference between lifestyle resorts and retirement villages is in the fees. The former sets you up for the future and the other could actually dramatically impact your ‘later years’ lifestyle.

Author and finance expert, Rachel Lane explains the differences in a clear and compelling way. “My advice is to break it down to the ingoing, the ongoing, and the outgoing costs of each. The ingoing amount is normally straightforward – the amount paid for your home or unit.”

The ongoing cost in a retirement village is the general service charge, while in a lifestyle resort it is the site fees. The unique ‘land lease’ ownership model in a resort allows you to own your own home and lease your land, putting a new luxury home affordably within your reach.

“The greatest confusion between the two comes from ‘outgoing’ exit fees. GemLife resorts have no entry or exit fees. All retirement villages have exit fees, also called deferred management fees (DMF). They accrue over a period of time and are typically anywhere between 25 per cent and 50 per cent after ten years. Retirement villages may also take a share of your capital gain when you exit, so you also need to factor that in,” explains Rachel Lane.

Choosing a GemLife resort has a number of financial benefits:

  • No stamp duty fees on your purchase
  • No ongoing council rates
  • No exit fees or DMF on exit
  • You own your home and keep 100% of your capital gain
  • The land lease model means there is a more affordable upfront price point
  • Your home is part of your estate as a willable asset
  • A portion of site fees may also be covered by government rent assistance


How does owning a house in a GemLife over-50s luxury lifestyle resort compare with owning a home in a retirement village when you exit after ten years? Sometimes what can seem cheaper actually ends up being more expensive.

GemLife over-50s luxury lifestyle resort compare

This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial advice, investment advice, or any other sort of advice. The content is information of a general nature and does not address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Conduct your own due diligence and consult your financial advisor before making any investment decisions.