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The rise of retirement living - Audley Group announces international expansion

Audley Group, one the UK’s leading providers of luxury retirement villages, has revealed that it has signed a new joint venture agreement with Danish pension company, PFA, that will introduce the group’s retirement living concept to the Danish market. 

The joint venture will fund the development of ten retirement communities, with up to 250 later living apartments in each. In keeping with Audley’s network of villages throughout the UK, which currently number 20, each of the newly-created retirement communities in Denmark is set to offer owners access to central facilities such as restaurants, wellbeing centres, library facilities and hobby rooms, and also an on-site domiciliary care function.

Representing Audley Group’s first strategic development outside of the UK, the partnership is reflective of a growing demand for luxury retirement living options within Greater Copenhagen and Aarhus.


These areas include a high density of over-60s with suitable disposable income, and as such is seen as representing an area of significant potential growth for Audley. The Danish villages will have their own brand identity which is currently in development.

Audley Group, which has been active in the later living retirement market for more than 20 years, has built a portfolio of 20 villages throughout the UK.

PFA has witnessed the growth of Audley first-hand, having become a significant investor in the Moorfield Audley Real Estate Fund, which acquired Audley in late 2015. Michael Bruhn, head of real estate at PFA, is also a non-executive director on Audley’s board.

Audley Villages aims to enable owners to live an independent and healthy lifestyle in their own homes, with flexible care when needed.

The villages, which are accessible to both property owners and the neighbouring communities, are home to the Audley Club, which offer a number of facilities including a library, restaurant and bar, swimming pool and luxury health club. 

Owners purchase their apartment from Audley and care at each village is delivered by Audley Care, Audley’s CQC-registered care provider.

Nick Sanderson, founder and chief executive of Audley Group, commented: “We have extensive experience of both developing and operating retirement villages throughout the UK. Today’s new Joint Venture structure allows us to effectively export our existing model that we have honed over the past two decades in the UK and capitalise on key growth areas in Europe.”

He added: “PFA has been a strong and supportive partner of Audley and is well-aware of the potential of this model. In line with the rest of Europe, Denmark’s ageing population provides the ideal opportunity for Audley and PFA to combine their extensive knowledge of the later living market.”  

Michael Bruhn, executive property director of PFA, said: “Over-65s is the fastest-growing section of the Danish population, and their wishes and needs in terms of housing are changing rapidly. Our market analysis points to a strong demand for retirement villages in the Danish market. In the future, this new type of housing could serve the needs of those looking to downsize from the traditional family home to their retirement home. We believe this is a market with very interesting perspectives.”

Retirement or later living is a growing concept in the UK, with various rental and sales models on offer. It is also rising in popularity across Europe.

However, compared to the likes of the US and Japan – where retirement living is already a firmly established part of the marketplace, albeit with different payment models – the UK sector is currently tiny.

There are signs, though, that this could be changing, with the potential for retirement living to be the next major property investment trend, while a leading developer recently suggested the sector offers one of the best investment opportunity for developers and investors.


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