Baby boomers, retirees, and downsizers are significant buyers of real estate in Sydney and Melbourne, according to the November issue of valuation firm Herron Todd White’s (HTW) Month in Review.
While this isn’t exactly bombshell news, in Sydney, HTW says there has been a shift in the housing requirements for the growing downsizing demographic.
As I’ve written several times, downsizers are favouring low maintenance, single level properties, close to amenities and public transport. Notes Brendon Hulcombe, CEO of HTW, “Often, [downsizers] will also want accommodation suitable to accommodate visiting family and friends.”
Lock it and leaving Sydneysiders
Feedback from local agents in Sydney indicates that ‘lock up and leave’ properties are a critical driver for downsizers. Lock it and leave is a fashionable phrase meaning downsizers can travel without concerns for large gardens, pools and other maintenance responsibilities. Houses on smaller blocks with low upkeep yards also meet the lock up and leave housing specification.
In many areas of Sydney, continues Hulcombe, “Developers note that a large proportion of local buyers who have sold their houses want a modern low maintenance unit or townhouse with quality inclusions allowing them to continue to live locally.”
HTW nominates Jackson’s Landing, a community development at the northern tip of Pyrmont, and Darling Point as favorite downsizing locations along with Bondi Junction and Edgecliff, which are well-served with public transport and major shopping centres. Likewise, Balgowlah, Mona Vale, Newport, and Palm Beach on the Northern Beaches are suburbs proving popular with seniors.
Boutique and architectural elegance in Melbourne
In Victoria, with just over 15% of the population aged above 65 (ABS, 2016), the residential property market in Melbourne is likely to experience multiple changes in the decades to come, Hulcombe advises.
Crucially, the HTW report states that downsizers in the Victorian capital ideally prefer well-designed developments close to their current family homes. Moreover, developers have recognised that downsizers want to stay close to home and in easier to maintain properties.
The East Melbourne project George + Powlett, for example, has marketed its luxury dwellings specifically to baby boomers, Hulcombe says. “This offering has responded to demand for boutique purpose-built, dwellings differing to more conventional smaller high-density developments.” George + Powlett incorporates 12 spacious townhouses close to the Melbourne CBD.
Another critical factor for the burgeoning downsizer market in Melbourne, says Hulcombe, is the design element combined with superior living spaces. Architects have responded with properties incorporating natural light, courtyards or gardens and elevated spaces utilising rooftops, he notes.