5 August 2019
For many retirees, downsizing is an opportunity to enjoy a more manageable home while also tucking some extra cash into super.
This can mean trimming the funds spent on a new home in order to build extra money for retirement living. But the good news is that even on a buying budget of $250,000, there is a wealth of exciting properties to choose from.
We take a look around Australia to identify those suburbs where downsizers have the widest choice of homes priced below $250,000, and much lower in some cases.
Downsizers in the Sunshine State are spoilt for choice when it comes to affordable downsizer homes.
These are chiefly freestanding homes in land lease lifestyle retirement communities.
Located just 35 kilometres from Brisbane, Burpengary is part of the growing Moreton Bay region that offers a neighbourhood shopping centre and close proximity to some outstanding Queensland beaches.
Further north, and with the Great Barrier Reef just off its shores, Bundaberg offers a tropical climate to downsizers plus plenty of lifestyle facilities including the Burnett River and a fabulous Botanic Gardens.
Moreover, Bundaberg Regional Airport provides regular QantasLink and Alliance Airlines services connecting the coastal town with Brisbane, which is 385 kilometres to the south.
New South Wales
Port Macquarie (see photo above) on the state’s Mid-North Coast has long been a popular destination for empty-nesters seeking a warm climate, beautiful beaches and a wealth of cafes and restaurants. The town’s recently upgraded airport offers around 100 flights to Brisbane and Sydney every week too, enabling downsizers to easily travel to these capital cities for social and commercial purposes.
The under-$250,000 price bracket offers a good selection of low maintenance apartments in village settings in Port Macquarie.
Closer to Sydney in the leafy Hills District, Cherrybrook is a sought-after suburb and the recent completion of the suburb’s metro-line station is making the neighbourhood even more appealing.
The north western Sydney suburb is also serviced by Hillsbus bus routes linking it to the Sydney CBD, while shoppers can benefit from Cherrybrook Village, a fully enclosed, single level neighbourhood shopping centre.
A surprising number of downsizer properties are available in Cherrybrook priced below $250,000, with the majority comprising small retirement village units from as low as $135,000.
Around 40 kilometres south-east of Melbourne’s city centre, Beaconsfield is popular with families, and the suburb boasts its own railway station. It’s also a definite hotspot for empty-nesters with a range of downsizing homes available for less than $250,000 including brand new and newly refurbished freestanding homes in over-55s communities.
Located 13 kilometres out of Melbourne’s city centre, Altona is a family-friendly suburb that boasts its own beach, has two railway stations and several bus services. The suburb is also spoilt for retail choice with the Coles and Aldi anchored Altona Gate contending with nearby Central Square in Altona Meadows for customers. Golf enthusiasts are well catered for with Kooringal Golf Club and Sanctuary Lakes Golf Club in Point Cook nearby.
Downsizers looking for homes under $250,000 in Altona can typically choose from smaller suites in retirement villages such as serviced apartments.
Tasmanian downsizers can head to Claremont on the banks of the River Derwent, just a short distance from the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). Claremont is a suburb of the City of Glenorchy, part of the greater Hobart area, and local shoppers can get their retail fix at the Woolworth’s anchored Claremont Plaza, if they can’t be bothered driving 20 minutes to the Hobart CBD.
In the under-$250,000 market, downsizer homes chiefly comprise apartments in retirement communities. In fact, it is possible to secure a serviced apartment for just over $100,000 with glimpses of the Derwent River.
Kings Park, is a small suburb located just outside the Adelaide CBD, offering the convenience of two railway stations, meaning residents are never far from the action of Rundle Mall. Downsizing options priced well below $250,000 in Kings Park tend to be serviced apartments in aged care villages.
Located in the foothills of Perth, there’s a lot to love about Gosnells. The neighbourhood boasts an aquatic centre featuring spa and sauna rooms, and two train stations for an easy commute to the Perth city centre. For empty-nesters looking for a home priced below $250,000 the main downsizer options in Gosnells are lifestyle villages dedicated to the over-50s. In fact, it’s possible to secure a cottage style two-bedroom home for as little as $129,500.
Another popular downsizer suburb in Perth is Bibra Lake. This suburb offers all the delights of the local freshwater lake surrounded by cycleways, and plenty to entertain the grandkids including a theme park and ice arena. In the under-$250,000 price range, typical downsizer homes include villas and apartments in resort-style leisure villages.
The above analysis shows that you don’t need to spend millions to find your perfect retirement property.
However, as always, it is worth doing your homework before signing on the dotted line.
It is well worth keeping in mind that some retirement villages may keep a portion of the purchase price, when you leave the village. This is known as a ‘deferred management’ or ‘exit’ fee, which means that the actual cost of your purchase may be higher than the purchase, or entry, price. Future capital gain on your purchase is treated differently from village to village, and in some villages this is shared with the operator.
If you are moving into a retirement village, you may also have to pay stamp duty.
Separately, both land lease communities and retirement villages, will typically charge ongoing fees.
Finally, it is important to seek out legal and financial advice so you are fully informed before making your decision.
By Anthony O’Brien, contributor to Downsizing.com.au