High vacancy rates are an ideal opportunity for empty nesters to try before they buy, and for property managers, this demographic is worth pitching to.

To stay or to go? It’s the big question so many empty nesters face as their children leave home and they are left with a home that is too large for their needs.

For others, the decision to downsize can be a financial choice – an opportunity to supplement their retirement savings with equity built up in a family home.

The common thread is that after living in the same home and suburb for a long period, often spanning several decades, it’s understandable that downsizers are anxious about whether they are making the right decision to radically alter their location or style of home.

That’s why a growing number of downsizers don’t rule out renting.

Scaling back doesn’t always have to mean buying another property. In fact, renting for a while can take the pressure off downsizers and allow them to take their time selecting the right home. It can also mean avoiding a rushed decision and buying the wrong home.

Downsizers could reduce high vacancy rates

At downsizing.com.au we are regularly asked about homes to rent by empty nesters wanting to dip their toe in the water of downsizing by renting first.

This is good news for property managers battling high vacancy rates. Figures from SQM Research show that Sydney has a vacancy rate of 2.8%, the highest in 13 years. Of course, the level of vacancies varies between locations. On the lower north shore for instance, it sits at 3.6%. Nonetheless, across Sydney 19,000 empty homes are waiting to be tenanted.

In Brisbane the vacancy rate is also high at 2.9%. The rental market is much tighter in Melbourne (1.7%) and Adelaide (1.1%). Canberra (0.6%) and Hobart (0.4%) both have wafer thin vacancy rates.

The upshot for rental property managers, who may be feeling the pressure from landlords, is that downsizers are a demographic worth actively pitching to. Many are keen to rent before buying, and they usually have all the qualities landlords are looking for – stability, plenty of financial clout and a high likelihood of taking good care of a property.

As downsizing.com.au is now listed on Property Realm, you can also connect with us there to get to know the downsizer market a little better.


Greg Oddy is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Downsizing.com.au and SeniorsHousingOnline.com.au