New analysis from Demographics Group managing director Bernard Salt has revealed the lifestyle hotspots for Australian retirees in 2017.
Commissioned by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) and presented at its recent conference in Sydney, the report shows that Australian retirees who own property in capital cities are downsizing to regional and seaside towns.
Foster-Tuncurry, a coastal town 300 kilometres north of Sydney, is the top sea change hotspot for NSW retirees, with about 32%of the population over 65 and not in the labour force.
In Victoria, Echuca-Moama, a town on the banks of the Murray River, is turning into a tree change hotspot where the median house price is about $560,000 less than in Melbourne.
In Queensland, a shift from Brisbane to Hervey Bay frees up about $220,000 based on median house prices, and in South Australia, Victor Harbour is fast becoming a hotspot, with 34% of the population aged over 65 and retired.
ASFA chief executive Martin Fahy said downsizing can liberate significant and much needed capital for Australian retirees, whose financial assets are predominantly in the family home and superannuation.
"Moving to [a place like] Foster-Tuncurry could liberate significant capital, with the median house price $650,000 less than in Sydney," he said. "That is a lot of money that can be used to pay off a mortgage or fund a better retirement lifestyle."
Related story: Retirement needs higher purpose: ASFA CEO
A study commissioned by industry super fund REST earlier this year showed that Australians are carrying mortgage debt and financial stress into retirement, with 46% of older working Australians expecting to retire with debt: one in four retiring with credit card debt (25%), one in five with a mortgage (21%) and one in ten with unpaid bills (12%).
Measures announced in this year's Federal Budget, which allows Australians choosing to downsize their residence to contribute up to $300,000 from the sale of their home to superannuation, passed the Senate yesterday, and have been returned to the House of Representatives for a single amendment proposed by Senator Leyonhjelm to be either accepted or rejected.
The initiative is estimated to have a cost to Budget revenue of $30 million.