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Report Home ownership Housing markets

Effective downsizing options for older Australians

Final Report No. 325

Date Published: 12 Feb 2020

Authors: Amity James Steven Rowley Wendy Stone

This research examined the extent to which downsizing forms part of older Australians’ housing preferences, as well as the availability of downsize housing options. 

Households on low or very low incomes were more likely to have downsized when compared to those on higher incomes. Of households that downsized, 42 per cent moved to neighbourhoods that were new to them and 37 per cent moved to a location they already knew, either through friends or family or as a holiday destination. Only 22 per cent downsized in the same neighbourhood as their original dwelling 

The most prevalent primary reasons for downsizing were: lifestyle (27%) and financial (27%) reasons; the garden or property requiring too much maintenance (18%); and being ‘forced’ to move (15%). 

The analysis shows that there is no such thing as a 'typical' retirement location. While metropolitan local government areas (LGAs) have the highest number of older Australians due to their size, there are many regional LGAs that have high proportions of older Australians, and many of these are relatively disadvantaged. 

Given the cost of caring for older Australians in residential aged care and their preference to age in place, one of the key areas for reform is in the provision of affordable and appropriate housing options in which older Australians can age. The policy environment associated with downsizing is complex as a result of variable prioritisation of housing for older people by governments and housing departments at the federal, state and local government levels. 

DOI: 10.18408/ahuri-8118801

Published by: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited

ISSN: 1834-7223

ISBN: 978-1-925334-89-0


Citation: James, A., Rowley, S., and Stone, W. (2020) Effective downsizing options for older Australians, AHURI Final Report No. 325, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited, Melbourne, https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/325, doi:10.18408/ahuri-8118801.