STANTHORPE residents have welcomed the town's recognition as an ideal place to call home.
A recent story in the Australian Financial Review listed the region as one of the top 10 in Australia to live, particularly for those entering early semi-retirement.
Apple and Grape Harvest Festival president Greg Thouard said the ranking was "fantastic news” for the district.
"The core business of the Apple and Grape Harvest Festival is to promote the district, its produce, its culture, its tourism opportunities and a great place to live,” he said.
"I am glad the research analysts targeted social and inclusive communities and healthy and well-connected villages.
"Stanthorpe excels in this area. I see so many new faces out and about becoming involved and doing things. With opportunities to become involved from bands to choirs, committees, churches, art, tourism, weekend events, sport, volunteering I am happy to say I live in one of Australia's top 10 havens to call home.”
Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce president John Bylicki said this reaffirmed his view that city-dwellers would be clever to make a regional move.
He said Sydneysiders, for example, could "capitalise on the unsustainable market values of their homes and realise the significant capital gains tax free windfalls before any property crash”.
"For many, they could use these funds to bring forward retirement, relocate to Stanthorpe and be better off financially and in terms of lifestyle than working for another five plus years and missing out on this opportunity,” Mr Bylicki said.
Ray White principal Jez McNamara told the Australian Financial Review the Southern Downs had plenty of opportunities to 'retire young'.
"The standout town we see is Stanthorpe,” he said.
"The region is noted for stunning scenery, wineries, olive groves, apple and stone fruit production and bed-and-breakfast accommodation.
"The area is popular for weekend trips and we see early retirees not necessarily wanting to sit on their hands and do nothing, so they tend to buy small businesses such as cottage accommodation or small boutique vineyards.”
Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie also welcomed the high ranking.
"It is great that the Southern Downs and particularly Stanthorpe has scored in the Top 10 areas to call home in Australia,” Cr Dobie said.
"But it really comes as no surprise as we have so much to offer here.
"When you look at the reasons why people choose a new place to live, we have them all.”
She said a great location, unique natural habitats and a great climate were contributing factors, along with the educational facilities, services and infrastructure.
"If you look specifically at Stanthorpe, there is no doubt it is one of the most desirable towns to live in Australia,” she said.
"As a region we are open for business and we're very keen for more people to make the move to the Southern Downs.”
Cr Dobie said more information about the council's incentives for new residents was available here.