Finance Property Pitfalls to avoid when heading bush or ditching the city for the coast

Pitfalls to avoid when heading bush or ditching the city for the coast

sea change
For sea changers who enjoy proximity to bright lights, the Gold Coast might be a better option than smaller inland towns like Mildura. Photo: Robert Lang Photography/Getty Images
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If you are downsizing from the family home and wondering how you can retire gracefully, then the lure of a move to the peace of the bush or the sea is mightily compelling.

But before you choose your ideal location, there are few factors you need to consider — and price is just one of them.

Does it have an airport so you can fly home to visit the kids, or fly in the grandkids for school holidays? Does it have a major hospital which, like it or not, one day you’ll be needing? Does it have enough shopping and entertainment amenities for your particular needs? And just how important is warm – or cold – weather to you?

We took these issues into account when choosing sea and tree change destinations across the eastern states. All our choices offer low maintenance and affordable home units located in centres with the trappings of any larger city, but without the travelling distances, traffic jams, noise, pollution and the general chaos of the capital cities.

Although the common perception might be that a seaside location is more expensive than a bush view, it’s surprisingly not the case.

sea change destinations

While the Gold Coast has a median price for home units of $415,000, the median unit price in Cairns, which admittedly is far hotter with an average yearly temperature of 29 degrees, is almost half the cost at only $215,000.

Go south but still stay warm on beach walks in Coffs Harbour where the median unit price is $334,000, but remember the closer you get to Sydney the more expensive home units will be. The bustling city of Newcastle has a median unit price of $492,000, making it the most expensive town on our list.

If you hate the hot weather and love the idea of roaring fires in winter (and sometimes even summer considering an average yearly temperature of a chilly 17 degrees), then Launceston in Tasmania has a median unit price of $230,000 which puts it just above Townsville’s median price of $227,000.

While some people might think the Queensland town’s balmy weather seals a seachange deal, remember that it’s much further to a major capital city than Launceston is.

City downsizers also have to think carefully about escaping metropolitan chaos. As much as it sounds restful, weigh up the pros and cons of peace and quiet and stimulation. If you enjoy proximity to the bright lights then the Gold Coast might be a better option than smaller inland Mildura, which is also a longer journey to a large city.

And when looking at possible retirement destinations, remember a smaller population seriously reduces the supply and demand and our coast-hugging towns tend to be more populous than our inland towns.

Thus bigger regions such as the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast also offer a wider array of unit choices and prices – from humble units far from the beach to million dollar-plus pads overlooking the beach for those wishing to sea change in style.