Downsizer Hotspots

New research confirms that for sea or tree changers, downsizing can offer a very lucrative fresh start.

New research confirms that for sea or tree changers, downsizing can offer a very lucrative fresh start.

Recent research by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) from demographer Bernard Salt AM has shed a spotlight on the hotspot locations preferred by downsizers. Some of the areas noted are already favorites among baby boomers and retirees, while others are just starting to see a swelling of the ranks of downsizers.

Sea and tree changers can pocket valuable cash

In NSW, Forster-Tuncurry on the mid-north coast is a sea change hotspot. In this idyllic location one in three locals are aged 65-plus and no longer working, so downsizers in the area can be assured of meeting likeminded residents.

Even better, moving from Sydney to Forster-Tuncurry can release significant cash for retirement living. The region’s median house price is $650,000 below the Sydney median so a sea change can free up valuable money to live on.

To the south, Victoria’s Echuca-Moama region is a favoured tree change location. Along with a quality lifestyle, downsizers can pocket big gains as the median house price is around $560,000 less than Melbourne’s median price.

In other states the gap between capital city and regional prices isn’t as pronounced, so a tree or sea change won’t always deliver such a spectacular release of capital. Nonetheless, for asset rich/cash poor boomers and retirees, the gains are still worthwhile.

In Queensland, downsizing from Brisbane to Hervey Bay, where one in four residents is aged 65-plus, can mean pocketing gains of $220,000 based on the respective median house prices.

In South Australia, the retiree hotspot is Victor Harbour where over one-third of residents are retirees. Downsizing from Adelaide to Victor Harbour-Goolwa can provide an additional $180,000 in retirement funds.


I’d also like to throw Mandurah, which is located on the Western Australian south coast into the mix. Raine & Horne Mandurah’s Peter Vetten tells me that most of Mandurah’s buyers are locals, although with its fabulous lifestyle based on its magnificent ocean beach and waterways, we believe it won’t be long before Perth downsizers make their mark on the local property market.

“You’re only an hour from Perth by train and you can sell out of the capital, free up some equity, combine it with your super savings and have a great life in Mandurah. Retirees are the future of the Mandurah real estate market,” said Peter.

Tapping into home equity

It’s no secret the family home is often the most significant asset of many Australians, and it can make sense to harness this resource in retirement.

Interestingly, ASFA notes that alternative means of accessing home equity such as reverse mortgages and shared equity schemes have failed to gain traction in Australia. So, it can be a no-brainer for pre-retirees and those already in retirement to sell a high maintenance family home in the suburbs and downsize to a more affordable coastal or regional location.

If the area has good medical and recreational facilities, a sea or tree change can achieve the twin goals of a relaxed lifestyle and enhanced retirement funding.


This article provides general information which is current as at the time of production. The information contained in this communication does not constitute advice and should not be relied upon as such as it does not take into account your personal circumstances or needs. Professional advice should be sought prior to any action being taken in reliance on any of the information.