A survey by Downsizing.com.au reveals the plans and aspirations of downsizers – and the results are surprising.
Almost 97% of respondents in a recent Downsizing.com.au survey said they would consider downsizing their home. The overwhelming driver (83% of respondents) is the prospect of a lower maintenance lifestyle with less time spent taking care of the home and garden.
But from here, the motivation to downsize varies widely.
Highlighting the travel aspirations of many empty-nesters, 48% said they are looking for a home that offers the freedom to “lock and leave” whenever the open road beckons.
Slightly fewer (45%) want a new home better designed for ageing, however, 38% of respondents simply want a newer, better designed modern home. This confirms separate research that many empty-nesters feel a lot younger than their chronological age, and they’re not thinking about downsizing in terms of a home gearing to ageing.
Many of the remaining drivers to downsizing revolve around lifestyle and social activities. One-third of would-be downsizers want access to improved lifestyle facilities, while over one in five are quite specific about wanting resort-style facilities such as a pool, tennis courts, and even golf course.
A further 29% see downsizing as an opportunity to expand their social network and make new friends.
Interestingly, the ability to access home equity was cited by just 35% of respondents. This supports research that shows while downsizing can free up substantial wealth, it tends not to be the main drawcard.
A chance to live the dream
So what does the downsizing dream lifestyle look like?
It turns out that there’s no single shared dream for downsizers. Sure, 38% would like beachside holiday living but 32% want urban convenience, and almost one in five want to downsize to a relaxed rural setting.
Others want to join the ranks of the grey nomads; and some have a core goal of living closer to children and grandchildren.
In fact, we’d like to share some of the comments respondents made about what downsizing means to them. You could recognise some of your own hopes and dreams in there too.
- The opportunity to stay young by socialising
- Downsizing to me means starting afresh
- Less garden, less house size, more time to relax and enjoy
- Making our life easier
- Easier to travel, more time to enjoy my hobbies
- Peace of mind. Debt free. Enjoying being able to mix with people of same age group
- Better off financially, less stress, being happy.
Taking the plunge
Yes, downsizing is a big step. But retirement is all about living the dream – and that makes it worth looking at how you can take the plunge to downsize your home without scaling back your life.
Greg Oddy is Director of Sales and Marketing at Downsizing.com.au