Age-specific housing markets and housing and care for low to moderate income older persons


This project assessed the current state of the age-specific housing market in Australia, its potential to grow (especially among low to moderate income older persons), and the financial and regulatory impediments to its expansion.

Project Number: 70589
Research Theme(s): Housing affordability, Health, ageing and disability
Project Leader: Bridge, Catherine
Funding Year: 2009
Research Centre: UNSW-UWS

Published research reports

Download now Positioning Paper: No. 134: Age-specific housing for low to moderate-income older people
1.4 MB PDF Document

Download now Final Report: No. 174: Age-specific housing and care for low to moderate income older people
1.6 MB PDF Document


The project involved consulting housing and care providers, residents, and key national and state policy players using a range of methods, including survey questionnaires and interviews.

The study found that:

  • The current supply of age-specific housing is old and not particularly suitable for older consumers.
  • Older people expect the following qualities in their housing: affordability, security of tenure, quality of dwelling and amenities, capacity to facilitate independence, good location, suitability for ageing in place and suitability for individual needs and interests.
  • Residents of age-specific housing indicated that declining health and a desire for a supportive and secure environment with less physical demands were major reasons for moving to age-specific housing. A lack of care services and the associated unmet care needs was a major issue for some residents, with many age-specific housing models providing only general home maintenance and upkeep services.
  • Residents of age-specific housing typically entered their housing after sale of the family home. Those people who with lower income or assets had restricted options in age-specific housing, particularly those who had a history of marginal and insecure housing.
  • Age-specific housing for low-income residents is found to be unprofitable for many providers. Many not-for-profit providers are using their market initiatives to cross-subsidise lower-income households, but demand is considerable and providers are struggling to keep up.
  • Policy-makers thought that the current regulatory and policy frameworks were complex and not optimal to generate further housing. While regulation is needed to protect consumers, inappropriate regulation may reduce innovation and discourage investment. Inter-sectoral policies were a high priority, including coordination and separation of housing and care, better information flows between sectors and improved urban planning.

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