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Inner city pads are on the outer for downsizing baby boomers

THE stereotype of the baby boomer downsizing from the suburbs to an inner-city pad is a myth, according to demographers.

THE stereotype of the baby boomer downsizing from the suburbs to an inner-city pad is a myth, according to demographers.

But the reality a boom in empty-nesters aged 50 to 69 living on Melbourne's Mornington Peninsula is likely to cause headaches for government and aged-care services and may be contributing to a decade-long rise in bayside house prices.

More than half Melbourne's suburbs where the population is heavily skewed towards an empty-nester age group lie south of Frankston between Port Phillip Bay and Bass Strait, data from demographers .id consulting shows.

In suburbs such as Flinders, Merricks, Blairgowrie, Arthurs Seat, Rye, Red Hill and Tyabb, more than one-third of the population is aged 50-69. In Portsea and Sorrento, empty-nesters make up nearly half the population, the data shows.

Demographer Matthew Deacon said Melbourne's empty-nesters preferred their existing homes or sea-change locations on the Mornington Peninsula and Bass Coast to the bright city lights.

Mr Deacon said migration charts showed people primarily moved into inner-city areas between the ages of 18 and 24 and moved out in their 30s, when they started to have children.

Downsizing choices were influenced by the cost of moving, increasing numbers of children returning to live with their parents and a lack of smaller housing close to the family home.

In country areas, forecasts showed the number of empty-nesters was likely to diminish in proportion to the rest of the population as fertility rates revived and younger migrants moved to regional areas, he said.

In Southbank and Docklands, 12-14 per cent of the population is aged 50-69.

Point Cook, popular with young couples starting families, has only 10 per cent in the same age group. One city suburb attracting a higher proportion is affluent East Melbourne.

The popularity of the Mornington Peninsula as a retirement destination is set to grow with the completion of the $2.3 billion Frankston freeway bypass likely to fuel the conversion of holiday homes to permanent accommodation in empty-nester suburbs like Balnarring, McCrae and Somers.

Peninsula Health spokesman John Jukes said people moving to the peninsula tended to have health insurance and there were plenty of private hospitals to service them. "We haven't seen any substantial growth in our elective surgery," Mr Jukes said. "It's entirely possible that the impact hasn't been felt yet."

Figures from the state's valuer-general show bayside suburbs like Safety Beach, Red Hill, Balnarring and McCrae grew sharply in value over the past decade.

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