28 May 2019
With the Federal election out of the way, confidence in the real estate market has improved and the national policy environment for seniors is now far clearer.
It’s now certain that self-funded retirees, who may have been considering downsizing, will be spared a host of new taxes and cost-cutting measures which had been proposed by the ALP.
The real estate market has had an instant and positive response to the Coalition’s victory, with clearance rates jumping the weekend following the election, while it is being speculated that the Reserve Bank will cut interest rates.
In other words, it’s not a bad time to consider diving into the downsizing market.
Given this, Downsizing.com.au has decided to provide a snapshot of the top downsizing hotspots in Australia, based on consumer searches on our website over April-May 2019, to help inform potential downsizers who are looking to make the move.
Port Macquarie (NSW)
It’s no surprise that the NSW Mid-North Coast city of Port Macquarie was the most searched suburb on our website over the last month.
Port Macquarie ticks many of the boxes sought by downsizers, especially those looking to escape from the Sydney rat race.
It has an eye-pleasing coastal environment, including 17 gorgeous beaches, along with a pleasant climate of warm summers and mild winters. In addition, it has a buzzing city centre with many shopping and business opportunities and a major regional hospital and airport.
This allows downsizers to enjoy natural delights, a good urban lifestyle and also know they can access health and other services they will need in retirement. In 2016-17, Port Macquarie had a net gain of 221 people aged over 65 from other parts of Australia.
Retirement housing is booming in Port Macquarie, with options including retirement villages, land lease communities and traditional apartments and townhouses on offer. You can search the full range of properties here.
There are so many reasons for downsizers to be attracted to Toowoomba.
For starters, it is located some 700m above sea level in the Great Dividing Range, which gives it a far cooler climate compared to most other parts of Queensland. This climate supports around 150 beautiful and lush parks and gardens.
The city centre has retained many of its historic buildings, which gives it a charming heritage feel. In addition, being a major regional centre servicing 130,000 people, Toowoomba offers the health and other services needed by retirees.
Between 2013-2016, the new Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport progressively opened and is now designated as an international airport, which means easy access to domestic and overseas destinations.
Given the above, Toowoomba has been the second most searched suburb on our website over the last month. Toowoomba has a wide range of retirement village and living opportunities, which you can view here.
Hervey Bay (Qld)
The suburb of Hervey Bay is situated about 3.5 hours north of the state capital of Brisbane. It is a natural bay between the Queensland mainland and nearby Fraser Island.
The suburb’s onshore breeze helps keep the temperatures down in summer and up in winter, preventing temperature extremes.
Hervey Bay is the third most popular searched suburb at Downsizing.com.au. What’s more, in 2016-17, Hervey Bay had a net gain of 247 people aged over 65 from other parts of Australia.
In recent years, both retirement village and land lease community operators have established new projects in the suburb.
In April 2019, Ingenia began construction of its new 12 hectare Hervey Bay community, after selling 90 per cent of available homes in just two months. Meanwhile, a land lease community which caters for downsizers which like large garages is also based in Hervey Bay.
Chain Valley Bay (NSW)
The next location is something of a hidden gem - the small suburb of Chain Valley Bay on the southern foreshore of Lake Macquarie in NSW.
Chain Valley Bay is surrounded by the Macquarie State Conservation Area on one side and Lake Macquarie on the other side, giving it a quiet, natural and scenic feel. The suburb is reasonably accessible from Sydney (about one hour and 40 minutes) while at the same time provides affordable accommodation.
Chain Valley Bay is certainly not widely mentioned around Australia as a retiree hotspot, but consistently ranks very highly in suburb searches undertaken on Downsizing.com.au.
We skipped down the most searched list a little for the next two locations, to focus on the most searched suburbs in Victoria and Western Australia in the past month.
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.
Given the above, it is hardly surprising that Mornington is a very popular suburb search at Downsizing.com.au.
In 2016-17, the Mornington Peninsula had a net gain of 204 people aged over 65, as a result of internal migration.
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.
Mandurah (Western Australia)
Mandurah is situated approximately 72km south of Perth and is WA’s second largest city.
Its connection with the Perth CBD has been strengthened with the opening of the Perth-Mandurah railway line in December 2007 and a direct road connection to the Kwinana Freeway built by late 2010.
Mandurah is known for its Mediterranean climate of hot dry summers and mild wet winters, although it is also known for being quite windy and capable even of producing the occasional tornado. The city and its suburbs have many kilometres of ocean coastline most of which is sandy beaches.
Mandurah is also known for its high retiree numbers, and this situation is showing no sign of abating. The city had a net gain of 149 people aged over 65 from internal migration in 2016-17.
Mandurah has a large number of retirement villages, along with general housing suitable for seniors.
By Mark Skelsey, News Editor at Downsizing.com.au. Contact Mark at [email protected]