Should you downsize to help afford your travels?

Downsizing grey nomads

Downsizing is a popular option for grey nomads seeking for an affordable base from which to launch their extended travels … and their sheer numbers are sending shockwaves through the regional real estate market.

A new report from market analysts, Propertyology, says that if only a small proportion of Australia’s 4.45 million baby boomers re-locate away from the major cities, it will continue to create significant extra demand for housing in the regions.

“Whether coastal or rural, we believe that the regional cities that will be in highest demand by baby-boomer re-locators will offer a combination of quality lifestyle, good health care, and availability of freestanding houses for less than $400,000,” said Propertyology Managing Director, Simon Pressley. “Don’t be surprised if tens, and possibly hundreds of thousands end up relocating to one of the many beautiful parts of regional Australia in search of a sea- or tree- change.”

And it’s already happening.  The owner of Collinsville Real Estate in the north Queensland mining town of Collinsville says that, of the 20 homes the firm has sold this year, 80% of them have been to grey nomads looking for an affordable base between big trips.

Some grey nomads sell up to hit the open road and then use their travels to find their little slice of home base Nirvana. Linda K has been travelling for almost three years after selling the family home in Victoria but recently ‘felt the urge to settle’. She has just bought a property in Pambula, New South Wales.

“We’re still in our caravan waiting for the settlement date and still enjoying it,” she said. “But, honestly, we can’t wait to move in and choose to travel when we want, rather than because we have no choice.”

Propertyology has identified around 40 regional cities which perform the role of pseudo capital cities, offering the same essential infrastructure as Australia’s official eight capital cities do.

In New South Wales, it says these include Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Armidale, Orange, Tamworth, Dubbo and Wagga Wagga. In Queensland, Cairns, Townsville, Hervey Bay and Toowoomba are ticking a lot of boxes for regional property seekers, while Launceston, Devonport and Burnie are reportedly the pick of Tasmania’s regional options. Bendigo and Ballarat are the best prospects in regional Victoria, with Albany, Bunbury and Geraldton among the favourites in Western Australia. In South Australia, Port Lincoln is a location to keep an eye on, along with Alice Springs and Katherine in the Northern Territory.

“Given that baby boomers represent 21% of Australia’s population and that a very high proportion have insufficient retirement savings, downsizing the family home will become the most practical option for most,” said Simon Pressley. “In many cases it will be the only option!”


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