NSW’s Port Macquarie and Queensland’s Toowoomba were Australia’s most searched locations by downsizers during 2019, as consumer interest soared in the over 50s housing sector.

Australia’s leading over 50s property portal, Downsizing.com.au, today released its key 2019 website statistics.

The NSW Mid-North Coast city of Port Macquarie claimed top prize as Australia’s most popular location for retirement and downsizing property, closely followed by Toowoomba in the Darling Downs region in southern Queensland.

Next in line was Chain Valley Bay (NSW), then Hervey Bay (Qld), Burpengary (Qld), Buderim (Qld), Bayview (NSW), Maroochydore (Qld), Bundaberg (Qld) and Mornington (Victoria).

Port Macquarie’s rising number of listing views - up from 109,532 in 2018 to 180,668 in 2019 - helped it jump from the nation’s number two most searched locality in 2018 to top spot in 2019.

Meanwhile, Toowoomba jumped from the nation’s fifth most regularly searched locality, up to second spot in 2019.

“Port Macquarie and Toowoomba both have an attractive climate and relaxing lifestyle, along with a growing range of retirement and downsizing options at a variety of price points,” Downsizing.com.au’s co-CEO Amanda Graham said.

“It’s hardly surprising they have topped the list of our most searched localities for 2019.

“Port Macquarie for instance has 17 gorgeous beaches, along with a buzzing city centre with many shopping and business opportunities and a major regional hospital and airport.

“Meanwhile, being located 700m above sea level in the Great Dividing Range, Toowoomba has a far cooler climate compared to most other parts of Queensland, which makes it attractive to many downsizers.

“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.

“Importantly, both localities allow you to get into retirement living at a highly affordable price, while also still offering luxury options. We’ve got properties on our website for as little as $185,000 in Port Macquarie and $163,000 at Toowoomba.”

Both Port Macquarie and Toowoomba have recently had airport upgrades. Port Macquarie’s $9.875m terminal upgrade was completed in November 2019, while Toowoomba’s Wellcamp airport celebrated its first international flight in 2016.

Strong growth in website traffic

Ms Graham said Downsizing.com.au had completed its strongest year of website traffic results, thanks to the surging interest in retirement and downsizing property.

Over 2019, Downsizing.com.au increased its listing page views by 81 per cent, to 15.4 million, on top of a 53 per cent increase in website visits.

The strong jump in website traffic came after the company last year unveiled a new website, brand and an expansion into the general downsizing real estate market, including new apartments, villas and townhouses.

The company also launched a professional newsroom, which is Australia’s leading source of consumer-focussed news and advice on retirement and downsizing property, and five weekly State enewsletters.

“The strong website statistics we’ve achieved is a sign of the surging consumer interest in downsizing, as Australia’s ageing population looks for a range of lifestyle-rich and maintenance-free properties for later life,” Ms Graham said.

The first half of 2020 is looking to be even better for downsizers, thanks to strong prices being achieved for detached homes on Australia’s east coast.

“This means downsizers can take advantage of their strong equity position when selling the family home along with the plentiful supply of new apartments to get a great deal when they downsize.

“The retirement industry also recognises this strong market situation, with the latest Property Council of Australia industry sentiment survey reporting that the retirement industry has the most positive outlook of any property sector over the next 12 months.”

Ms Graham said that as Downsizing.com.au expanded the type of housing stock listed on the website, the most searched suburbs were also likely to change.

Downsizing.com.au was founded as Seniors Housing Online by Ms Graham and her sister-in-law Catherine Graham in 2003.