Part One: Australia and New Zealand
It’s a well-known fact that for the vast majority of us, the most expensive item any one of us will buy in our lifetime is the home we live in. What’s also a fact is that one of the key reasons why many pre-retirees are reluctant to commit to a move overseas in retirement is the thought of having to find and establish a new home.
In part this reluctance stems from the unfamiliarity of the purchase process abroad, and in part it has a great deal to do with the expense associated with buying real estate. However, unlike in nations such as the US where legislation and taxation can make the purchase of a home complex and expensive, there are many countries around the world where even if the red tape associated with buying is still cumbersome, the asking price you will pay for a fantastic home is not.
If you really do like the thought of spreading your wings in retirement and heading overseas to live a freer life, less shackled by a society determined to know everything about you, where perhaps your retirement income will go further, where the climate is maybe better and where life can be more fulfilling, we have a new series of reports written with you in mind.
Over the next few weeks we are going to be examining where you can find affordable real estate around the world suitable for your retirement…
In part one today we’re going to head to the other side of the world and examine whether there are any bargains that you can buy in Australia and New Zealand. Neither nation is particularly famed for cheap real estate – whilst at the same time both countries are very popular choices with international expatriates. So, can you realise your dream of a retirement to Australia or New Zealand if you have less than a fortune in the bank to use to purchase your own home? Read on to find out…
Note: in part two of this series we will be examining the Americas, in part three we will head for Africa and Asia before finishing up in Europe for part four. So, if you long for a new life overseas, let’s see whether our exploration of the affordable real estate options around the world can inspire your relocation in retirement.
Your Introduction to Affordable Retirement Real Estate Around the World
We’re very well aware of the fact that not only is ‘affordable’ a relative concept, but that the homes we feature below may not be your ‘cup of tea.’ Additionally, by the time you come to read this article, having saved it up for a rainy day maybe, perhaps the homes we feature will have been sold already. So, what’s the point of this series of articles?
Well, we are not trying to sell you a specific property abroad – instead we want to inspire you to realise your dream of a retirement overseas.
The countries we’re going to be featuring in this series are the likes of popular retirement destinations such as Mexico, Australia and Belize – as well as a handful of less considered places where actually, property is very affordable and the quality of life you can enjoy is very good. For example, have you ever thought of living in New Zealand, Turkey or Sweden in retirement? Probably not – but as you will now discover with our help, such nations offer you very attractive real estate options, even on a limited budget.
Your budget should not restrict your choices, and the countries that promote themselves as retirement hotspots need not be the only nations you consider as you work out where you would like to live overseas. Finally, even in the most popular (and seemingly expensive) countries that are popular with international retirees, if you step off the beaten track you can potentially find an affordable home.
In our articles you will be introduced to new regions in old favourite countries as well as brand new nations abroad for retirement – and we hope that the homes we feature will give you the confidence to go out and search for your own ideal and affordable piece of international real estate. Of course, you will also be able to use EscapeArtist.com as your research platform as you dig deeper to discover more about the countries you come to consider for relocation in retirement. After all, we are all about inspiring and assisting anyone who wants to move overseas…we even have up to date and regularly refreshed international real estate sections for many nations around the world.
Finding an Affordable Retirement Home in Australia
As is the case with all nations around the world, certain parts of Australia are far more expensive than others when it comes to both real estate and the day-to-day cost of living. These costly locations tend to be employment hubs, lifestyle destinations or tourism centres such as Sydney and Melbourne for example, and if you avoid such areas you will soon realise that you can afford real estate in Australia.
Starting in Queensland in a small town called Hughenden, which is famous because it’s where the Muttaburrasaurus dinosaur was discovered, there’s a two-bedroom home for sale for 35,000 Australian dollars (which is about 30,000 US dollars). The property has a newly renovated bathroom, but the rest of the property is in need of modernisation – which is of course reflected in the asking price.
The property is air-conditioned throughout, it is in a quiet but central location and it’s on a plot that comes complete with a garden shed! Hughenden is on the edge of an ancient underground sea, and there is plenty to do and see in this part of Australia meaning that if you chose to make this property your home in retirement, you would not be bored by your new lifestyle – an important consideration if you’re retiring abroad.
Alternatively, in Cootamundra in New South Wales there’s the opportunity to buy a former timber framed Presbyterian church! The property is on the market for just 38,000 Australian dollars (32,135 US) and it sits on a substantial three quarter acre plot – meaning that with the right vision you could turn this project into the perfect character retirement property in Australia.
The country town of Cootamundra is located 240 miles south west of Sydney and it’s a major junction on the Sydney to Melbourne railway line. The town’s current prosperity is largely due to its location in the centre of a rich sheep grazing area for example, and the local community is described as ‘close knit and friendly,’ which could well suit a retired couple.
Staying with the ecclesiastical property theme for just one moment, if you prefer a more substantial property for a similar price, (offers over 39,000 Australian dollars/33,000 US dollars), how about a former church constructed from stone that’s in Conara in Tasmania? It’s a very privately located property on half an acre of land, and whilst it would require complete building work to turn it into your ideal retirement property, it is utterly charming and incredibly sturdily built.
Tasmania is the island that lies 150 miles off the south coast of Australia, and it has an incredibly unusual and rare natural environment, it also enjoys an excellent climate and is a potentially exciting place to start a new life abroad in retirement.
If your idea of a retirement property is one that’s ready to move into however, you will need to increase your budget a little, but even then you will find you can get decent real estate for a realistic price in Australia. On the market for 75,000 Australian dollars (63,423 US) is a freshly renovated two-bedroom bungalow with a spacious garden in Girgarre, Victoria. The kitchen and bathroom are brand new and the entire property looks well kempt – the result being, this property is ready to move into and make home. Girgarre is a small town in the heart of a farming community, it’s home to a thriving fortnightly farmers’ market and has all the basic amenities and facilities you need within a peaceful community setting.
If your budget will stretch just that little bit further, for 115,000 Australia dollars (97,081 US) in Tungamah, Victoria there’s a beautiful three-bedroom cottage for sale on a corner plot that has been fully modernised inside. The kitchen is fabulous, the living areas are open plan, the outside garden area is a project waiting for attention – and all in all this spacious, well-located and attractive home is a really fantastic bargain.
Tungamah is situated on the banks of Boosey Creek, it’s 160 miles from Melbourne and it is a typical farming town with lots of fascinating historical buildings. It has all the amenities you could want in retirement – from social clubs to medical facilities for example – and if you bought this property, you could move in and not have to do any work at all. It would certainly suit someone who wanted to establish a garden though, as the plot the cottage sits on is sizeable and currently waiting for a green-fingered buyer.
All homes detailed are available through independent agents in Australia, but can be viewed via the RealEstate.com.au portal.
Reasonably Priced Retirement Real Estate in New Zealand
The breathtaking, unrivalled beauty of New Zealand is now world famous thanks to the globally successful movies that have been filmed in the nation such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy. As a direct result, interest in the country has increased and many have discovered that this English speaking country on the other side of the world has an awful lot in its favour!
If you think New Zealand could be a place where you could be happy in retirement, what could your strict budget perhaps buy you? How about a pretty three-bedroom, recently redecorated cottage that’s described as an ideal fishing retreat because of its close proximity to the Mataura River! The home is on the market for 45,000 New Zealand dollars (which is roughly 31,000 US dollars) and it’s located in Wyndham on the South Island. The house could do with some modernisation – although it is sound and therefore you could move in right away. It has very tidy outdoor areas and a large living/dining room in addition to the three-bedrooms.
Wyndham is a service centre for the surrounding districts and is located just 28 miles from the city of Invercargill. It has a shopping centre, library, museum and a hotel as well as a large recreational area featuring a golf course, race course, rugby ground, softball diamond, bowling green, tennis and netball courts and a camping ground. Brown trout fishing is within walking distance of the property, and so you can see why it’s described by the agent as an ideal fishing retreat!
If a decent vista is all-important to you however, how about a property in need of internal renovation but which comes with stunning views of dramatic snow capped peaks? A three-bedroom bungalow on the market for 54,000 NZ dollars (36,930 US) located in Ohai fits this bill. The home really needs doing up completely on the inside; it is inhabited but the current owners haven’t made the best of the home they have. In retirement and with some imagination this very well-located property could be transformed by you into a fabulous home – it’s number one selling point being the views it enjoys. Note: Ohai is also on the South Island.
Just a few miles away in the charmingly named community of Nightcaps there is another property worth consideration. This one is in perfect condition unlike the former property, and you could move in straight away and do nothing other than perhaps tone down some of the internal décor which is largely dominated by the colour pink! The property is a cute two-bedroom home, well located for all the local amenities, and it’s for sale for 55,000 New Zealand dollars (37,642 US).
Nightcaps is a more thriving town than Ohai with schools, a golf course and all the amenities and facilities you might need when you come to retire.
If you’re prepared to increase your budget a little, you really can get a lot more for your money in New Zealand such as a substantial four-bedroom home in Waipukurau on the North Island. The home does need complete renovation on the inside however, to bring it up to date – but structurally it’s sound, the land it sits on is spacious, it is very well located and as stated it is substantial and offers a lot of real estate for the 80,000 NZ dollar asking price (54,651 US).
Waipukurau is the largest town in the Central Hawkes Bay district and it’s on the east coast of the North Island. In the same district in the town of Dannevirke there’s another home for sale that could also benefit from modernisation, but which is actually immaculate and therefore ready to move in to. If you can handle the thought of some home improvements and of doing them slow time, rather than totally transforming the former property mentioned, perhaps this home would be better suited for you.
The property is a three-bedroom bungalow that is set in a large plot of land which has been nicely gardened to the front. It is very well built and maintained and it’s on the market for 92,000 NZ dollars (which is roughly 63,000 US).
Finally, if you prefer the thought of perhaps living in a livelier, more vibrant community in retirement than some of the more rural and peaceful locations we have introduced you to above, how about Dunedin? This is the second largest city on the South Island, it’s a university city and one with a very strong Scottish heritage. Located on the coast it has a fairly temperate, cool climate, it offers fantastic scenery, excellent cultural pursuits and is a very popular choice with expatriate citizens.
For sale for the really reasonable price of 169,000 New Zealand dollars (115,096 US dollars) there’s an immaculate suburban home for sale to the south of the city. The property comprises of an open plan kitchen and living area, three bedrooms, and it has recently been renovated and redecorated throughout. It’s likely to sell quickly because of its favourable location in this popular city, and because immediate possession is possible.
The house has a lovely sheltered garden, it has had a lot of time and effort invested in it, and it is worth consideration as it could be the perfect retirement property as it ticks every single box – from location to state of repair for example!
All properties are available through various independent and local agents in New Zealand, and are visible via the RealEstate.co.nz portal. US dollar prices are based on the rate of exchange offered by xe.net on the date of this report’s writing and should be checked again before you even consider making an offer of interest for any property.
As both Australia and New Zealand are economically strong nations boasting healthy employment sectors and offering their citizens a high standard of living in beautiful environments, they are both hugely popular countries with people from all walks of life and from many nations around the world. This has the effect of making real estate in each country in demand from a growing population that is boosted annually by expatriates…naturally this means that property prices remain healthy!
However, as I hope you have seen today, if you step off the beaten track and away from the most obvious expatriate haunts, you can find decent real estate for a decent price in both Australia and New Zealand, making either nation a serious contender for consideration when you begin to plan where you would like to retire abroad. To learn more about both countries and to explore current real estate options for sale, see the EscapeArtist.com Australia and New Zealand sections.
About the author: Susan Beverley is a writer and editor for Escape From America Magazine and also writes for and maintains Expat Daily News – the expat news blog for EscapeArtist.com. She traveled extensively before becoming an expat herself having found a place to call home in South America where she has lived since 2005. She understands the concerns, needs and difficulties that expats face from first-hand experience and is dedicated to supporting and encouraging anyone who is looking for a new nation to call home.