Downsizers are living the high life in some of Australia’s most exclusive suburbs, despite only having to pay budget housing prices.

An analysis by Downsizing.com.au has found that retirement living apartments are available for as little as $184,000 in the priciest suburbs of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

This is largely because of the significant price differential between traditional housing and retirement living apartments. Across Australia, retirement living apartments are worth around two-thirds of the median house price in the surrounding suburbs.

The ability for downsizers to enjoy a “champagne lifestyle on a prosecco budget” also reflects the fact that there are many affordable studio and one-bedroom options in retirement villages.

SYDNEY

With its leafy avenues, historic homes and sweeping harbour views, Neutral Bay is pretty, but also pretty pricey. Median house prices are $2.59 million, based on CoreLogic January data.

However, a slice of life here can be much less.

One and two bedroom apartments at Bougainvillea Retirement Village can start from just $270,000, subject to availability.

The Bougainvillea Retirement Village is situated close to everything of the best Neutral Bay has to offer

The village boasts a pool, restaurant and prime position near shops and beach.

Village sales manager Pare Tocker says most residents come from the surrounding area, while some move in to be closer to family.

“Our location is probably our biggest drawing card. We’re walking distance to supermarkets, cafes, medical centres, dentists, public transport and so much more,” she says.

Mosman takes the mantle as one of Australia’s richest suburbs, with its impressive waterfront properties, high-end eateries and natural beauty.

The median price is $4.29 million according to CoreLogic January data. 

Thankfully, you needn’t be a high flyer to call Mosman home.

Uniting Killarney offers contemporary one and two bedroom apartments from $250,000-$680,000. Stroll the leafy neighbourhood to boutique-lined Military Road or even take a dip in nearby Balmoral Beach.

Dotted with heritage listed sites, and with a median house price of $2.9m, Waverley in Sydney's eastern suburbs offers affordable surprises right on the doorstep of the famed Bondi beach.

For instance, Queens Park Retirement Village, which offers boutique independent living villas, from $300,000.

The one and two bedroom units are in a social village, with craft afternoons, happy hours, a pool and hairdressing salon.

Queens Park Retirement Village is situated across the road from stunning Queens Park

BRISBANE

West End is a vibrant inner-city mix of eclectic people and places.

People love its quirky shops, bustling dining culture, quaint cottages, gardens and designer apartments.

Median house prices are $1.09 million according to CoreLogic January data.

But you can gain a foothold in this charming community for considerably less, with one bedroom fully self-contained units at Blue Care’s Tangara retirement village, starting at $195,000.

The units take in sweeping views of the suburb and include access to a library and gym. Cafes, theatres, galleries and more are also nearby.

Brimming with seaside charm, Redcliffe is an appealing option on the shore of Moreton Bay, north of Brisbane.

Redcliffe is known for its coastal beauty
Redcliffe is known for its coastal beauty

The main drag still carries an old-world feel, while the refurbished waterfront bustles with activity. The median house price in January was $471,000 according to CoreLogic.

Yet access to this desirable peninsula style living isn’t prohibitive: you can take in the bay breezes at the New Haven retirement village, with units from $184,000.

The 22 affordable low-set one and two bedroom brick and tile units, some with private patios, offer a peaceful coastal lifestyle with facilities including a library and games room. Shops and cafes are close by.
 
MELBOURNE

Known as the Beverly Hills of Melbourne, Toorak is the city’s most expensive suburb and one of Australia’s most exclusive.

The mansions of its well heeled residents are grand, but the prices are grander, with homes fetching a median price $3.8 million as at January, based on CoreLogic data.

Between the old world houses and leafy green streets, you can find affordable gems.

For instance, Apartment 203 is a boutique one bedroom apartment ready to be snapped up for $450,000 at the Toorak Place retirement village.

The stylish second floor offering provides a spot of elegance in the heart of Toorak Village and comes with a private balcony and social village atmosphere, with classes, games and a barbeque area. Shops, trams, healthcare and cafes are nearby.
 
PERTH

Mosman Park is one of Perth’s most affluent suburbs, located on the north bank of the Swan River, boasting picturesque parklands and proximity to Cottesloe’s world renowned beaches.

Median house prices are $1.56 million according to January figures from CoreLogic.

Perth's Mosman Park is located on the Swan River

It’s possible to enjoy prime position between the river on one side and the sea on the other at the Dorothy Genders Village, which has one and two bedroom units starting from $238,000.

The centrally located village is just a 10 minute walk from the shops and clubs. You can also take in the relaxing lifestyle with the beach and boating also nearby.

Find out more

Downsizing.com.au has Australia’s best range of retirement and downsizing-friendly property - start your search here.

How to search for more affordable homes in expensive suburbs:

  • Search suburb name at Downsizing.com.au
  • You’ll then see a “Filter” button come up in the search box at the top of the page
  • Click on this button and scroll down until you see the section on Pricing
  • Add your maximum price and hit update

You’ll then see the homes available in your price bracket in this suburb.