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Your Census questions answered

What is the Census?

The PwC/Property Council Retirement Census is a repository of information contributed by retirement village operators and developers. The information is collected by the Property Council and analysed by PwC. PwC and the Property Council periodically publish the results of the information analysis. The information collected includes such things as occupancy rates, unit sale prices, average resident ages, unit selling periods and other key information that will enable benchmarking across the industry as well as promote transparency in the sector.

What is the purpose of the Census?

The Census has three specific purposes:

  1. The Census enables retirement village operators to benchmark their performance against sector averages, which helps them to identify their strengths and weaknesses and remedy areas of underperformance;
  2. The Census provides the Property Council with reliable data upon which to base policy decisions and lobbying efforts in order to increase the understanding of regulators and politicians of the scale and nature of the retirement living sector; and
  3. The Census helps increase the transparency of the sector in order to promote investment in the retirement living sector.

What information is contained in the Census?

There are a number of categories of information which have been developed in consultation with operators on the Retirement Living Council, a specialist national division of the Property Council, that are included in the Census. The categories include data about existing villages (e.g. average tenure, facilities, fees, sales data, resident entry age and average age, and occupancy rates) as well as information about planned developments (e.g. village style, development approvals, proposed commencement and completion dates, size, and proximity to residential aged care facilities).

The Census was publicly launched in November 2014, using initial data contributed by RLC members. At launch, the Census covered approximately 30 per cent of the national retirement living sector. All operators were then invited to be part of the 2015 Census, which covered more than 50,000 retirement units.

In 2016, we are aiming to increase our reach across the sector.

Who can access the Census? How do I get the information from it?

The raw Census data is confidential.

Organisations who contribute data for the Census will receive a free comprehensive analysis report from PwC.

Others, including Property Council members and the public, will receive a free short report showing aggregated key data, analysed by PwC to enable operators to keep up with industry trends and benchmark performance.

New in 2016, businesses and individuals will be able to purchase a report from PwC. This report will contain more data than the free public report, but will not contain all of the data in the report received by contributing organisations.

The Property Council will use the aggregated data in its own research, and in advocacy activities with governments. The Property Council can also share aggregate results from the Census with professional researchers it commissions for specific consultancies.

Interested parties will also be able to commission, for a fee, PwC or the Property Council to undertake further analysis work using the Census data.

In all of the products mentioned above, the confidentiality of contributors will be completely protected. The reports and commissioned research will only reveal aggregated data, ensuring individual operators and villages cannot be identified.

Who owns the intellectual property?

Intellectual property in the PwC/Property Council Retirement Census is owned jointly by the Property Council and PwC. If joint stewardship of the Census between PwC and the Property Council ends at any point in the future, both parties will be able to retain and use the Census, subject to all the confidentiality and privacy protections in place.

What’s in this for me? For PwC? For the Property Council?

PwC is the research and advisory partner of the Retirement Living Council, and are providing in-kind professional services (including compilation of the Census) at no charge to the Property Council. The Property Council is a not-for-profit entity established to advance the business interests of its members. A fee is payable if deeper analysis work using the data is commissioned from PwC or the Property Council.

The Census is designed to help the sector grow, in particular through the establishment of credible and transparent data for industry investors, which in turn will help the business growth of members, the Property Council and PwC.

The Census is necessary for the sector to become a sophisticated asset class that can successfully compete for capital. Domestic and overseas banks as well as equity trustees need solid data and metrics to enable them to analyse the merits of loan applications and acquisition proposals. The PwC/Property Council Retirement Census will make it much easier for individual operators to benchmark key aspects of their businesses, and for the Property Council to explain the size and importance of the sector to political leaders and government officials.

What definitions are used for key terms (e.g. vacancy) in the Census?

Because many operators measure key aspects of their operations differently (e.g. vacancy: does it start when a resident vacates the unit? Or when it is renovated? Or when it is listed for sale?), there is a need for standard definitions to be adopted.

The Retirement Living Council has agreed to standard definitions on all terms used in the PwC/Property Council Retirement Census, which are explained clearly on the interface used by contributing operators.

Who can contribute to the Census? How can I be part of this?

Any retirement village operator or developer in Australia can contribute their data – simply email and a member of the Census team will contact you with more information.

Note that the Census does not collect information on other forms of seniors’ accommodation such as residential aged care or over 55s lifestyle parks.

Will my data remain safe and confidential?

Yes. All data submitted is securely stored by PwC – no-one else can access your individual data.

There is a statement of confidentiality protection available.

How often will the data be updated?

The Census will be updated annually.

I have more questions!

If you have any other queries regarding the PwC/Property Council Retirement Census that haven’t been answered here, please visit, or email and a Property Council staff member will respond to you directly.

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