Downsizers are diving or climbing into sea and tree changes, and this should give developers food for thought about where, and who, to market properties to.

New research commissioned by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) from Bernard Salt AM[1] has identified tree and sea change hotspots for Australian retirees.

According to the study, some locations already have large numbers of retirees, while in others the proportion of retirees is starting to grow significantly.

Downsizing outside cities frees up funds

In NSW, Forster-Tuncurry is a sea change hotspot. Around 32 per cent of the local population is aged 65-plus and not in the labour force. ASFA notes that sea changers moving to Forster-Tuncurry could liberate significant capital, with the median house price $650,000 less than in Sydney – potentially freeing up plenty of extra cash to fund a better retirement lifestyle.

In Victoria, Echuca-Moama is fast becoming a tree change hotspot. There the median house price is around $560,000 below Melbourne’s median.

In the other states the amount of capital that can be liberated is much less owing to the lower median house prices in capital cities compared to regional areas. In Queensland for instance, a shift from Brisbane to Hervey Bay, where one in four residents is aged 65-plus, can free up about $220,000 based on median house prices.

South Australia has its own retiree hotspot in Victor Harbour, with 34 per cent of the population aged more than 65 and retired. A shift from Adelaide to Victor Harbour-Goolwa can liberate $180,000.

Opportunities for a better lifestyle

It’s little wonder these hotspots are favoured by downsizers. Demographer Bernard Salt says tree and sea changers are more interested in new and improved recreational lifestyles. But in the right location, downsizing can also liberate a swag of home equity – money that can be used to lead a more enjoyable retirement.

ASFA points out that reverse mortgages have not proved popular in Australia nor have shared equity schemes. Yet with the family home and superannuation forming the bulk of financial assets for retirees, downsizing can give retirees the resources to lead the sort of retirement they have dreamed of, with the added bonus of a better and less stressful lifestyle.

Don’t overlook downsizers

For developers with projects planned or underway in coastal or regional areas, ASFA’s findings highlight the value of marketing properties to downsizers.

Sure, coastal and regional areas often appeal to first home buyers, young families and holiday home investors among others. But in many cases, it is downsizers who are cashed up and ready to go. That makes them a valuable addition to your marketing list.