Regional move helps retirees free up cash


By Sarah Kendell

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Retirees could free up a significant amount of cash to fund their expenses by downsizing to a home in one of Australia’s ‘sea change’ or ‘tree change’ hotspots rather than taking out a reverse mortgage or releasing equity from their current property, according to new research from the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) and demographer Bernard Salt.

The research unveiled the most popular locations for retirees looking to make the switch from city to country life and the average amount of funds retirees could tap into by moving.

Top locations include Forster-Tuncurry in New South Wales, where 32 per cent of the population is over 65 and retired and median house prices are $650,000 less than in Sydney, and Hervey Bay in Queensland, where 25 per cent of the population are retirees and median home prices are $220,000 cheaper than in Brisbane.

In Victoria, Echuca-Moama was identified as the retiree hotspot, where median house prices are $650,000 less than in Melbourne, while the South Australian retiree haven of Victor Harbour has over one-third of its population aged over 65 and a median house price $180,000 cheaper than Adelaide.

ASFA said given reverse mortgages and equity release schemes had so far proved an unpalatable option for Australian retirees, price disparities meant it was worth considering a regional move for retiree clients looking to free up some cash to fund their expenses after leaving work.

“That is a lot of money than can be used to pay off a mortgage or fund a better retirement lifestyle,” ASFA chief executive Martin Fahy said.

The superannuation industry peak body said considering a regional move was particularly important given an increasing number of retirees were leaving full-time work with a mortgage debt still to pay off.

Salt added that increasing longevity and more recreational lifestyles meant the baby boomer generation was likely to rely on generation X and millennials for financial support for 25 years following their retirement.

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