Pre-retirees can retire comfortably on passive income if they start investing in the property market now, according to property consultancy firm WealthMart.
As much $80,000 per annum can be earned from a portfolio of properties that generate positive cash flow well into retirement - but it depends on "how, what, and when you plan to buy," WealthMart property consultant Steve Smith said.
The Australian Wealth Behaviour Survey shows about six in 10 people expect to save $638,000 in superannuation - excluding the family home - this is about $500,000 less than what they think they require, Smith said.
He encouraged Australians to be "a smart first-time investor, rather than a first-time home owner buyer."
"This way you'll kick start the process of building a property portfolio, and with it all the deduction benefits such as depreciation and interest, that investment property ownership brings," Smith said.
He named Canberra as an ideal location to start an investment portfolio, where home values increased by 4.9% in the three months to July and grew 12.9% over the past year.
ACT has overtaken Victoria to become Australia's second-strongest economy, and topped growth on four of the eight measures: economic growth, retail spending, business investment, unemployment, construction work, population growth, housing finance and dwelling starts, he said.
Meanwhile, a new report from Industry Super Australia shows housing affordability in Sydney and Melbourne has reached crisis point - and Canberra is not too far behind.
"In the past five years, incomes in Sydney have risen 15% on average, but house prices have risen 87%. It's simply unsustainable," ISA chief economist and report author Stephen Anthony said.
The paper highlighted a number of solutions to tackle the affordability crisis, starting with co-ordinated efforts across federal, state and local government; limiting personal grants and tax concessions; restricting foreign ownership to new dwellings; and replacing stamp duties with land taxes.