Has the 2016 census revealed the next property hotspot?

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The 2016 Census of Population and Housing data has confirmed that Australia’s population is aging, with the median age in 2016 being 38, up from 37 in 2011.

Savvy investors are using this data to their advantage to consider housing opportunities that will suit this market in the future.

According to Census data, one in six Australians are now aged over 65, “compared to one in seven in 2011, and only one in 25 in 1911”, the ABS reports.

In addition, 2.1% of Australia is over the age of 85 – an increase of 84,000 extra 85+ residents since the last Census. There were also 3,500 people aged over 100.

Australia’s aging population, together with trends towards downsizing and the continuing increase in the number of single person and couple households (as opposed to family/intergenerational homes), means that property trends are evolving.

There are now more people living in units and townhouses, more people living alone, and an ever-aging population – making the investment idea of free hold properties in retirement communities a more appealing one.

“Everyone is talking about the need for more affordable housing, particularly for seniors, but there are very few practical, flexible solutions on the table to ease the current predicament or solve the potentially worsening situation in 10 or 20 years time with an ageing population,” said Todd Pepper, Executive Director of Alceon Brisbane.

He believes that this type of housing affordability option for seniors could potentially be a win/win for investors and seniors alike.

Unlike dwellings in a manufactured home village, the villas at Carseldine Gardens, situated 12.5km from Brisbane CBD, are bricks and mortar purchased in the same way as buying into a residential townhouse or unit development.

The purchaser pays stamp duty, has freehold title, and pays modest ongoing body corporate fees, alongside the usual outgoings associated with home ownership.

Seniors can buy or rent villas to access the affordability, convenience and community lifestyle of the village, while renters receiving an age pension may be eligible for additional rental assistance.

Purchasers too have flexibility, as they can sell their villas at any time or rent them out, and there are no restrictions when it comes to the purchasers themselves as investors – they don’t have to be seniors.

“This is a great opportunity for anyone keen to get into the property investment market, as the investment is less than $300,000, with rental yields of 6 per cent, proven rental history, cash flow positive up to $43 per week and low risk tenants, in other words a low cost/low risk investment,” said Pepper.

It’s also a potential opportunity for families to pool resources and fund their parents’ retirement home, for people “who might otherwise find themselves in inappropriate accommodation, or moving into residential aged care long before they need to,” he added.

“Some SMSF trustees may also see this option as an ideal property investment with the goal of moving into a villa once the trustees have reached retirement age,” he said.

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