Like any typical holiday maker, Geoff is able to wake to the sounds of the ocean, enjoy a stroll on the beach with his dogs and even have a dip in the resort pool.
It’s just that Geoff, aged in his mid-50s, is also working locally as a full-time facilities manager.
Earlier this year, Geoff and wife Kerrie moved from Newcastle to Hometown Australia’s Lifestyle Beachfront Community on the NSW Mid-North Coast.
The couple are among the new breed of retirees who’ve decided to begin the transition to retirement by moving into an over 50s community.
“We came across this community and the location and amenities were just perfect,” said Geoff.
“The pools, barbeque area, the common areas where we get to meet people – it's decked out with everything we wanted.”
We thought ‘why do we need to wait?’ The children have grown up, the grandkids were starting school, so we weren't needed as much. Let's do this for us,” said Geoff.
More retirees mixing work with pleasure
Across Australia, more over 50 empty nesters like Geoff and Kerrie are downsizing into a land lease community before they’ve officially retired.
The trend is hardly surprising.
Between 1991 and 2021, the percentage of Australian workers aged 55 and over has more than doubled from nine to 19 per cent.
Looking at this another way, in June 2021, around 75 per cent of Australians aged 55-59 were still working. This compares to just 52 per cent in June 1991.
This means more Australians in their 50s, whose children have left home, are looking for a downsizing option but - for a range of reasons - aren’t quite ready to give up working.
The early downsizing trend is also being supported by a range of other game changing events brought on by COVID-19.
This includes an increased acceptance of remote working and a strong population outflow from major centres to the regions - where most land lease communities are located.
In addition, the buoyant property market is giving potential downsizers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get a quick sale and release equity to help prepare for their retirement.
Hometown Australia Communities perfect for working downsizers
Over 50s who are considering their next move are spoilt for choice when it comes to Hometown Australia, which operates 52 land lease Communities occupied by some 10,000 residents across New South Wales, South Australia, and Queensland.
Many of these communities are in holiday hotspots such as Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay and Gold Coast regions, New South Wales’s Mid-North, North Coast and Port Stephens regions and South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula.
Residents in these communities purchase their home and then benefit from a secure, long-term site lease with Hometown Australia. This means no stamp duty or council rates are payable.
The affordable price point of these homes, along with lack of government taxes, allows many retirees to top up their retirement savings, after selling their family home and moving into a Hometown Australia Community.
In addition, the wide range of Hometown Australia Communities, and the fact there is no stamp duty, means it’s relatively easy to up sticks and try out a different community location in another region or even interstate.
Hometown Australia Communities are perfect for downsizers who want to continue to work from home, with many home designs including study rooms or areas and some locations have high-speed NBN internet connections directly to the home.
For instance, the new home designs at Beachfront, where Geoff and Kerrie live, contain two bedrooms along with a multi-purpose room that can be utilised for a home office.
Work, sleep….and holiday
Kerrie and Geoff moved to Beachfront after growing tired of home maintenance and wanting to seek a new lifestyle.
“On the way home from work now I see the ocean and the beach,” said Geoff.
“It's like I'm on holidays again until tomorrow.”
“You get eight hours work, eight hours sleep, and eight hours holiday.”
It's an easier life.”
Kerrie, who is enjoying part-time work in a newsagent after a management career, said maintaining their previous house and the yard took much of their time.
“Moving here, all our weekends are free to spend however we want – with our kids or grandkids or going places with friends,” said Kerrie.
While they have more freedom, the couple still easily maintain important ties with family – Kerrie’s two children and their four young grandchildren – who remain in Newcastle.
“The kids love it here, too,” said Kerrie.
“The Community has the beach on one side and two beautiful big pools. It’s also got a gated play area for kids and a huge games room with table tennis and snooker. There's so much to do here, you don't have to leave.”
The couple both love beach walks with their dog, while Geoff enjoys fishing.
“It's like living in one big cul-de-sac, too. “There's no through traffic. It’s very casual and very safe. You can walk around barefoot in a pair of shorts – that's the uniform,” said Geoff.
Geoff said the pandemic helped cement their choice.
“2020 was a strange year. Isolation and lockdowns shaped a lot of our thinking. We thought ‘why not do it now?," he said.
“It's the best thing we ever did,” concluded Kerrie.
- Tour the Hometown Australia website to learn more, or make an enquiry, about its over 50s land lease Communities, including Beachfront
This content has been prepared for Hometown Australia by Downsizing.com.au