What downsizers want. There is a demographic shift going on in Australian suburbs. Baby boomers are leaving their big family homes in favour of smaller, smarter and sometimes cheaper new digs. If you are renovating for this market it is important that you understand what downsizers want in a home.
Some are opting for retirement living.
In true contrarian baby boomer style, many are choosing a home that provides more of a hip lifestyle.
It’s this second group that is of interest to renovators. They are cashed up (from the proceeds of the sale of a family home) and are on the lookout for a lifestyle property. If you are one of those baby boomers, you might look at downsizing as an opportunity to beef up your cash reserves, I’ll tell you how a bit later on in this article.
The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) published a research paper “Downsizing amongst older Australians” in 2014.
For those who glaze over at the thought of reading a research paper, I have extracted some of the more interesting findings here. It is important for renovators and investors to understand their market. This article by no means negates the need for in depth research of the area you are buying in. I do think it gives valuable insight to help guide your own research into what downsizers want in your suburb.
Just How Many Are Downsizing?
AHURI surveyed 2767 Australians over 50 and found that 43% had Down-Sized. The pattern was similar from state to state but the prevalence of downsizing was higher in the capital cities than for other areas.
Why Are They Downsizing?
No surprises here. The main reason over 50s are downsizing is for a lifestyle change.
They are over maintaining a big house and garden.
The children have mostly left home leaving the house half empty.
The loss of a partner due to relationship breakdown or death was a less common reason.
Lastly, some are downsizing for financial reasons, either to eliminate the mortgage or free up some cash.
What Downsizers Want?
A single level without stairs is the top priority .
They want a smaller lower maintenance house/apartment and garden.
It’s important to note that they do need space to entertain family and friends.
If this isn’t possible they need access to common areas at the very least.
Good neighbours are important and 22% choose to relocate within the same suburb.
Some move back to an area to which they had a history and emotional attachment.
The layout and accessible design of the dwelling was important, so was adequate storage.
Close proximity of shops, transport and other services is essential.
So is living in a safe area, and having good security.
Stephen and I downsized a couple of years ago and have a bit to add to the list of what downsizers want.
It is important to remember that downsizers have a lot of big furniture.
While they accept that a lot has to go, they need decent sized rooms.
Downsizers will generally need two to three good sized bedrooms, one to sleep in, a guest room and possibly a study.
When thinking about proximity to transport, keep in mind that many downsizers travel often. Having reasonable access to the airport is a must.
If You Are Contemplating Downsizing Yourself;
Remember downsizing, is an opportunity to recreate your life both personally and financially.
Consider doing two projects, one on your existing house and one on your new downsizer.
You have the potential to add 10 – 35% to your existing home and put an extra couple of thousand into your pocket when you sell.
Then instead of going and buying a renovated or new property, start your new life with a project, create your dream downsizer and save yourself another couple of hundred thousand.
In fact, if you are downsizing in a capital city just those two projects could make/save you between $200,000 and $500,000 and build a skill that will transform your income and your life.