Although downsizing is a trend for those looking to save money, Australians still value having extra space, with more than half moving to a dwelling with three or more bedrooms and only a third moving to an apartment, according to new research.
According to the Effective downsizing options for older Australians undertaken for the AHURI, almost half of those who choose to downsize are moving to new neighbourhoods, while the main reasons for downsizing include lifestyle, financial and reduced maintenance burden.
Lead report author Dr Amity James from Curtin’s School of Economics, Finance and Property said the research saw downsizing as not so much about moving to a lower-value dwelling with a reduced number of bedrooms and on a smaller land area, but about moving to a dwelling that is appropriate for a household at a later stage of life.
“Australian governments typically see downsizing, or rightsizing, as a way to use housing stock more efficiently, with downsizers reducing the number of bedrooms in their dwelling, freeing up larger dwellings,” Dr James said.
“However, most downsizers still want space and regard spare bedrooms as necessary in a dwelling.”
The most common uses for spare bedrooms are as a room for guests, a home office and as somewhere for children and grandchildren to stay.
Dr James said that as there are huge costs for governments when older Australians move into residential aged care, ensuring affordable, accessible and adaptable housing options for downsizers so they can “age in place” safely is a key policy concern of governments.
“Among those who had downsized, only 22 per cent remained in the same neighbourhood as their original dwelling,” Dr James concluded.