Retiring to the country has always been a popular move among older Australians, but real estate agents say growing state infrastructure has meant a tree change in retirement is now practically a no-brainer.
Though the appeal of country living includes more space, cheaper housing and access to nature, traditionally the perception of isolation and less amenity had meant homebuyers were sometimes hesitant to uproot from the metropolitan area.
But according to Ray White Nannup Principal and Licensee Mike Tucker, who works some 280km south of Perth, there were a handful of regional improvements that had seniors flocking to places like the South West without doubts.
“The improved transport corridors has been great for people who want to live in the country but still find Perth accessible,” Mr Tucker said.
“Additions to the road network over time, like Forrest Highway, have made huge differences to people and many of the interconnecting corridors have significantly cut travel time for people travelling between smaller towns and bigger destinations like Margaret River.
“There’s constant improvements in this space.”
Mr Tucker said other concerns regional areas were satisfying included convenient access to healthcare, which had been significantly improved since the introduction of the Western Australian Country Health Service’s Telehealth Service.
Telehealth enables residents in regional and rural areas to speak with Perth-based specialists using videoconferencing technology, so patients can avoid lengthy travel to the city.
“There’s certainly much better access to healthcare,” Mr Tucker said.
“We have also seen more investment in hospitals in our area, including the new Busselton Health Campus which opened in 2015.
“There’s also improved access to other amenity such as shopping centres, with major stores doing deliveries now.
“You’ll find country towns have plenty to offer retired Australians.
“The communities are really close-knit, there’s lower rates of crime and the towns are often full of like-minded seniors.
“In places like Nannup, there are many organised activities to keep older Australians connected to their communities.”
Following the movement restrictions that came with the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Tucker said tree change inquiries had skyrocketed as homebound Perth residents look for more spacious properties.
He said country homes were on the menu due to large block size and significantly cheaper price tags than comparable metropolitan properties, which had grown the tree change market.
“We used to typically sell to people over 65, but now we’re seeing young professionals and young families wanting to buy,” Mr Tucker said.
“Especially since working from home means people don’t have to go into the office as often, so they can comfortably live away from Perth.
“At the moment, there’s also a zero vacancy rate and rentals are strong, so country properties are looking like a really good opportunity for investors.
“There’s no point waiting until retirement.
“Have a look at what country WA has to offer now.”
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