Over60

Downsizing

“They’re not retirement villages”: How you can keep active and save money in a Hometown over 50s community

“They’re not retirement villages”: How you can keep active and save money in a Hometown over 50s community

When Queensland couple Fiona and Rick Lodge made the decision to downsize earlier this year, they were keen to find a new home which would allow them to cherish the great outdoors and lead an active lifestyle.

After all, Fiona, 62, and Rick, 74, love to spend time in the sun and be active and healthy.

In fact, in the lead-up to a major event, this super-fit couple would be likely to cover nearly 400km in a single week, either through running, riding their bikes or swimming. 

Fiona and Rick have both run marathons and, in 2018, Fiona represented Australia in the 55-59 age group in the ITU World Championships Olympic Distance Triathlon.

“All through our lives, we have always done some kind of physical activity,” Fiona said. “There wouldn’t be a day we don’t exercise.”

“However, where we used to live in Brisbane, it got a bit boring running past houses and the local road system could be a bit dangerous and the environment not terribly healthy. 

“We wanted to find a new home and community where we could enjoy a great outdoor coastal environment, and also help financially set up our retirement.”

Fiona and Rick moved into a Hometown Australia land lease community

Fiona and Rick decided to shift to Hometown Australia’s Orianna community located at Sandstone Point in the Moreton Bay region, north of Brisbane.

With its slow-paced coastal location, and an abundance of recreational facilities, Orianna is the perfect location for active and healthy over 50s.

As Fiona points out: “It is close to the water and beach, with lots of great scenery, which is great for running and being outdoors.”

Located just 100m from the edge of the Bribie Island Passage, Orianna has an outdoor fully heated pool and bowling green, along with a cinema, clubhouse, BBQ area, games room, gymnasium and wellness centre. 

Similar active lifestyle features are also available in many of the 48 residential land lease communities operated by Hometown Australia across Queensland, NSW and South Australia.

Hometown land lease communities ideal for an active lifestyle

Land lease communities are growing in popularity across Australia, in part because they are attracting active and younger downsizers.

Unlike retirement villages laws in a number of States, you don’t actually need to be retired to enter a Hometown Australia land lease community. 

As a result, these communities are attracting an increasing number of people in their 50s and 60s who are either in the early stages of retirement, or transitioning to retirement. Some residents are actually still working part-time or full-time, while living in the community. 

Given the younger age profile, incoming residents tend to be more active than those in retirement villages. This helps create a more vibrant social and community atmosphere, where people are often out and about around the community.

As Fiona says: “People have to look at these communities with an open mind, and not think of them as retirement villages. They are all new and modern, lots of facilities, and you don’t have to be in your 60s and 70s to move into them.” 

Hometown land lease communities help save you money

Another reason that land lease communities attract younger downsizers is because they offer financial incentives which allow people to retire early. 

Under the land lease model, buyers purchase a dwelling and then benefit from a secure, long-term ground lease for this dwelling with Hometown Australia. Because no land is actually being purchased, buyers don’t have to pay stamp duty or ongoing council rates.

For Fiona and Rick, this means they have avoided a $7,175 stamp duty bill and around $950 in annual council rates, which would have applied if they had bought a general home in the same area for the same amount.

In addition, because of the ground lease arrangement, and because Rick is an aged pensioner, the couple are eligible to claim rent assistance via the Commonwealth Rent Assistance scheme, to offset their monthly site fees. 

Hometown land lease communities have great and affordable homes

Importantly, Hometown land lease communities also allow buyers to move into a range of attractive lifestyle-rich locations, at an affordable price.

Many of these communities are located in some of Australia’s best-known coastal holiday spots, including Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay and Gold Coast regions, NSW’s Mid-North, North Coast and Port Stephens regions and South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula.

Hometown community homes start at just $250,000, with most of these having two or three bedrooms, a study, and either 1.5 or two bathrooms. Homes in Orianna start from $379,000 (for a two-bedroom home with ensuite).

The affordable price point of these homes allows many retirees to top up their retirement savings, after selling their family home and moving into a Hometown community.

“By moving here, we were able to shift to a great coastal area and into a new house, but still be able to put away something for our retirement,” Fiona said.

“We had a look at other houses in the local area, when we were weighing everything up, but we generally found the other houses were more expensive and needed a lot of work, that would have taken money from us.”

Fiona and Rick purchased a three bedroom, two bathroom home with a double garage and spacious indoor and outdoor living areas. The home also features ceiling fans and air conditioning. 

The Lodges use the backyard for regular Sunday get-togethers with other Orianna residents.

“We liked the idea of downsizing into a standalone house and a yard, where you are part of a great community but still have your own privacy. It ticked all our boxes,” Fiona said.

Find out more

Hometown Australia’s new website allows potential buyers to easily search communities across Australia and see what facilities and homes they offer. 

The details of the community manager are listed alongside each community, allowing you to easily find out more information.

Written by Mark Skelsey, this sponsored article is produced in partnership with Hometown Australia.