In the space of just six years, NSW couple Vicki and Mark Rayner have been able to save money for their retirement and moved to three different lifestyle-rich locations - all thanks to the land lease living model.
The Rayners are part of a growing group of footloose retirees who are exploring the new places and friendly faces which can be found across Hometown Australia’s 52 communities.
These homeowners are taking advantage of the significant financial benefits of land lease living, which includes being able to release equity from their family home and move without paying stamp duty or exit fees.
These same financial benefits make it easy for homeowners to move to, and test out, some of Australia’s best known coastal holiday spots, where Hometown Australia communities are located. Read on to find out more.
Rayners have moved three times in six years
In 2015, Vicki and Mark Rayner sold their four bedroom house in Penrith and moved to Hometown Australia’s Valhalla community at Chain Valley Bay, on the foreshore of Lake Macquarie.
“We loved the area as it was right on the lake and the brand new homes that were on offer were beautiful and were the right price,” Vicki said.
By moving to Valhalla, the Rayners were able to top-up their retirement funds, due to the significant price differential between their former house and their new and less expensive three-bedroom land lease home.
After three years living at Chain Valley Bay, Vicki and Mark decided on a literal “sea change” to Hometown Australia’s Beachfront community Hallidays Point on the NSW Mid-North Coast.
“We came across the beachside properties up at the community at Hallidays Point and we loved the location,” Vicki said.
“We were ready for a change and that’s one of the luxuries of land lease living. There were no exit fees, selling fees or stamp duty on our home so financially it was a good move too.
“The move was easy. We put our home on the market with Hometown Australia, waited for a buyer and then everything fell into place. The whole process took three months.”
When moving into Hallidays Point, Vicki and Mark downsized to a two-bed home with bigger living areas and a bigger backyard and were able to top up their equity again.
At the end of 2020, Vicki and Mark moved to another Hometown Australia community, The Dunes at Sussex Inlet on the NSW South Coast.
“We’ve always loved the South Coast but couldn’t find anything to buy when we first retired,” Vicki said. “We were down here at the end of last year and came across The Dunes community. It’s a lovely spot so we put our house on the market and here we are.”
“The mobility and flexibility of land lease living is absolutely a benefit.
“It’s allowed us to move around and live in different areas in a cost-effective way.
“Moving between Hometown Australia communities we’ve also had the benefit of knowing what to expect and have always been surrounded by like-minded people of a similar age with similar interests.”
“We’ve made friends with many other couples and there’s always so much to get involved in. All locations have a community hall and offer a range of activities and social gatherings. On Australia Day there’s always a sausage sizzle and on Anzac day a small ceremony.”
Hometown Australia land lease living has also provided the Rayners with financial security.
“We’ve been really happy with the return we’ve got when we’ve sold our homes,” Vicki said. “They’ve all gone up in value so, while you pay more for your next home, your current one has risen too.
“We’ve always felt very secure and looked after as part of Hometown Australia communities. For us it’s been the best move we ever made.”
About land lease living in a Hometown Australia community
Some 10,000 residents currently live in Hometown Australia’s land lease communities, located across Queensland, NSW and South Australia.
These communities are in attractive locations, including Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay and Gold Coast regions, NSW’s Mid-North, North Coast and Port Stephens regions and South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula.
Most communities contain a range of resort-like features to keep residents active and socially connected, including pools, tennis courts, restaurants, community areas and bars.
Residents in these communities purchase a dwelling and then benefit from a secure, long-term ground lease for this dwelling with Hometown Australia.
The land lease living model provides many financial and lifestyle benefits.
Firstly, Hometown community homes start at just $250,000, with most of these having two or three bedrooms, a study, and either 1.5 or two bathrooms.
The affordable price point of these homes allows many retirees to top up their retirement savings, after selling their family home and moving into a Hometown community.
In addition, because no land is actually being purchased, buyers don’t have to pay stamp duty or ongoing council rates. This is a further saving of many thousands of dollars.
In addition, there are no exit fees when you leave a Hometown Australia community.
These two features make it easy for residents to move between communities and explore new locations.
This compares to owners of general apartments or houses, who need to pay stamp duty every time they move, and residents of retirement villages and some other land lease operators, who need to pay exit fees when they move out.
Finally, because of the ground lease arrangement, residents are often eligible to claim rent assistance via the Commonwealth Rent Assistance scheme, to offset their monthly site fees.