Victoria is arguably Australia’s fastest growing retirement and downsizing destination.
The latest PwC/Property Council Retirement Living Census, released in November 2018, found that 1,291 new retirement village units are predicted to come to the market in the Victorian capital of Melbourne between 2018/19 and 2022/23.
This represents a stronger pipeline than Sydney, where 947 new units are predicted over the same period.
These figures represent only one segment of the downsizing market. For instance, they don’t count the rapidly growing number of Victorian land lease communities (where residents pay a regular site fee to lease the land where their home is located).
Given this, Downsizing.com.au decided to take a look at the State’s top downsizing destinations. We based on our analysis on the top suburb searches on our website in September 2018.
The Mornington Peninsula has long been a relaxing coastal holiday retreat for stressed-out Melburnians and it is now also an unquestionably strong downsizing and retirement destination.
The Mornington Peninsula Shire Council is home to 192km of coastline and has a very agreeable average summer temperature of 24 degrees and average winter temperature of 14 degrees. The area is easily accessible from Melbourne, with the opening of the Peninsula Link freeway in 2013 helping to cut travel times.
The council’s website proudly proclaims that the region has “an air that's reminiscent of the Mediterranean, with its vineyards and olive groves, its historic country house retreats and intimate hotels.”
Given the above, it is hardly surprising that Mornington is the most regularly searched suburb in Downsizing.com.au.
The council area’s ‘over 50s’ population jumped from 65,779 in 2014 to 71,702 in 2017, a rise of nine per cent. This compares to an overall growth rate for the council area of 6.5 per cent during the same period.
There are a wide range of downsizing options in the peninsula, both in terms of cost and location, including retirement villages, general apartments and land lease communities.
While Mornington, Rosebud and Sorrento are among the peninsula’s best-known suburbs, there are in fact 40 suburbs across both sides of the peninsula to compare and explore. Many of these are listed in Downsizing.com.au, including Hastings, Bittern and Mt Martha – so it is well worth doing your research online!
The Geelong region has the best of both worlds – it is just a one-hour drive from the State capital of Melbourne while also having its own separate identity, culture and economy, and a relaxed coastal lifestyle.
The region is characterised by the multi-award winning Waterfront overlooking Corio Bay, the picturesque Bellarine Peninsula, the Barwon River, You Yangs Regional Park, wetlands, beautiful parklands and wildlife sanctuaries.
This has helped make the region a popular downsizing destination.
Geelong is the second most regularly searched Victorian suburb among Downsizing.com.au users – you can try this search here.
Between 2014 and 2017, the number of over 50s in the Greater Geelong council area has increased from 82,422 to 88,935, a jump of eight per cent. This is slightly lower than the area’s overall population increase of 9.2 per cent.
The area includes a wide range of downsizing options to suit different budgets and tastes, including land lease communities, retirement villages, rental villages and apartments.
Berwick and Cranbourne
For most of their history, dating back to the mid-1800s, the two suburbs were at the centre of an agricultural district and regarded as being outside of Melbourne’s urban boundaries.
This all changed in the 1990s with the release of land for new housing estates.
Fortunately, you don’t have to drive too far outside of housing areas to still experience rural features such as horse studs and hilltops, while the region is also known for its beautiful gardens and parks (including the 39 hectare Wilson Botanic Park).
The City of Casey has seen its population jump by more than 43,000, from 2014 to 2017. The area’s s surging over 50s population has been a big part of this growth, jumping by 14 per cent from 74,100 to 84,649.
These two suburbs allow over 50s to enjoy low-density, green and quiet downsizing options, while at the same time keeping them in easy reach of central Melbourne to visit friends and family.
Pakenham is a satellite town of Melbourne, located some 56km south-east of Melbourne’s CBD. It’s located on the main railway line between Melbourne and Gippsland.
The area’s relative affordability, accessibility to the CBD and semi-rural setting make it a popular location for downsizers. A feature of the area includes Pakenham’s Lakeside Park and the Cardinia Aqueduct Trail.
The area has a number of new retirement villages and land lease communities built in recent year, and some are still under construction. Popular suburbs in and around Pakenham include Officer South and Beaconsfield.
These new projects are helping to service the booming number of seniors coming to the area. Between 2014 and 2017, the number of over 50s in the Shire of Cardinia (of which Pakenham is part) jumped by 18 per cent from 24,109 to 28,266.
Mark Skelsey is the News Editor at Downsizing.com.au