Downsizer demand drives release of new housing
BABY boomers have for decades influenced the property market in popular retirement regions like the Coffs Coast.
As a wave of over 55s choose to downsize or make the seachange in 2019, new change is being brought to housing developments on the coast.
By 2026, the number of Coffs Harbour locals over the age of 55 is set to increase by more than 22 per cent to 31,750 - up from 26,000 in 2016.
And the demand for affordable housing for this age group is set to soar over the next seven years.
Leading demographer and social commentator Bernard Salt, who has led the research in The Advocate's Future Coffs Harbour think tank, said the Coffs Coast's convenient location halfway between Sydney and Brisbane and its growing investment in infrastructure would make the region one of NSW's prime retirement areas over the next decade.
"In the next 10 years the Coffs Harbour region will top a population of 100,000 people and 10,000 newcomers will arrive in your area, so there will, at least, need to be 5,000 new dwellings created," Mr Salt said.
"The baby boomers have driven massive change in the housing market as they downsize from their family homes into more convenient accessible forms of living.
"Many babyboomers are also downsizing and retiring out of the metropolitan, and Coffs Harbour has massive appeal as retirees seek to sell-up and live relatively mortgage-free on the coast, just a stroll from the beach as they say.
"So there is huge potential in the Coffs Harbour area and the Mid North Coast remaining a retirement, seachange capital, but to ensure this continues there must be the right investment in infrastructure and services to ensure accessible living is affordable and conveniently situated close to all the services that baby boomers expect in their retirement."
The developer of Woolgoolga's newest lifestyle community, Plantations by Ingenia Lifestyle, says it has been inundated with demand from local downsizers, fast-tracking the launch of its new stage of homes in the community master plan.
With interest growing for affordable homes for over 55s, Plantations by Ingenia Lifestyle says it is answering the demand from local downsizers through its innovative land lease ownership model.
Ingenia Lifestyle Project Sales Manager Terry Ronan said an overwhelming response was recorded from VIP buyers who wasted no time in snapping up all available homes in stage three last week, before it even launched to the public.
"An additional 15 homes have just been released in Stage Four at Plantations - a direct response to the demand we have seen for homes in stage three," Mr Ronan said.
"Residential property demand is surging in the region and prices continue to rise, for example, the average house price in Coffs Harbour is around $550,0002 - far greater than homes at Plantations, which start from just $409,900.
"Last weekend, we had more than 130 guests attend our community open day.
"Throughout the day, we had two couples place deposits on their new homes and more than 15 reservations as part of our First Choice Club - a VIP program, which allows soon to be downsizers to gain exclusive access to the plans and prices of future releases prior to the public launch."
Plantations by Ingenia Lifestyle has become a popular housing choice for downsizers as the land lease ownership model is said to allow purchasers to own a brand new home and lease the land without unnecessary stamp duty fees and no exit or deferred management fees.
"The land lease model allows downsizers to capitalise on the market and make the decision to move to Plantations to free up their equity and improve their lifestyle," Mr Ronan said.
"The new release of homes has been designed to take advantage of Coffs Harbour's coastal climate and lifestyle - it really is like a coastal oasis for downsizers right here in Coffs."
As a part of the new master plan, Plantations by Ingenia Lifestyle will offer residents a host of resort facilities, including a fully fitted-out gymnasium, a bowling green, a cinema room, a library and sports bar, in addition to a swimming pool.
Demand for lifestyle living is growing in NSW, and also in the Woolgoolga lifestyle community, which was officially opened in June.
Since welcoming its first residents, the company says there has been an influx of interest locally and interstate from over 55s looking to downsize and take advantage of the lifestyle offered in the resort community.
Margaret and Rodney Bamford relocated to Woolgoolga in search of the perfect community to enjoy their golden years together.
"Before moving into Plantations, we had been living on the Gold Coast," Mrs Bamford said.
"We had been looking for a land lease lifestyle community on the Gold Coast, but they weren't quite right, they were either too far away, too expensive or too noisy.
"My brother, who lives in Grafton, told us about the Ingenia community being built in Woolgoolga.
"Plantations was perfect for us because it meant we could be closer to family.
"Because it was already under construction we knew could move in sooner and start living the lifestyle we had always wanted."
Current reports from CoreLogic show median house prices in Woolgoolga ($505,0001) are almost 35 per cent higher than the $332,500 starting point of homes in Plantations.
This sharp difference in price is allowing buyers to free up funds to invest in living the ultimate coastal lifestyle.
"The homes were a good price compared to other homes in the area - with the added bonus of being able to access all the facilities that living in a lifestyle community has to offer," Mrs Bamford said.
"We still have a decent sized three bedroom, two bathroom home with a double garage - which is more than enough space for the two of us.
"Now we have settled in we plan on doing some travelling in our caravan - which we may now even downsize to a motorhome."