What matters to downsizers – developers take note

Credit: Downsizing
What matters to downsizers – developers take note
Written by: Ron Reed

Sadly, we can never escape the bombardment of research regularly reminding us we’re getting older.

For example, property firm, Savills Residential has presented research telling us that over the next 30 years, the number of over 65s in Australia will grow from 3.6 million to 8.9 million, an increase from 15% of the population to 35%. 

While the rapid expansion in retiree numbers in Australia is sobering news for governments, developers with a keen eye on the downsizer market have an excellent opportunity to respond by building housing that suits the needs and lifestyle of the over 65s market.

Adam Ross of Savills Residential notes a vast number of over 65s have no debt and are living in homes that are surplus to their needs. Consequently, Ross says there’s been a surge in demand from downsizers for two and three bedroom apartments in boutique developments in his patch of Double Bay in Sydney’s salubrious Eastern Suburbs.

One size fits all strategy doesn’t work for retirees

There is an enormous opportunity in the property market to cater to the over 65s demographic who are in search of location and appropriate styles of residential property at appropriate pricing, continues the Savills research.  “A ‘one size fits all’ strategy is unlikely to be successful – location, amenity, transport, and other lifestyle considerations will play their part.”

The needs of each downsizer vary, agrees Chantal Hooper of Savills Residential but “the majority of my purchasers required single level living, lift access and to be within walking distance of supermarkets, shops, and restaurants without having to get in their car.  

“A turn-key apartment that is secure, low maintenance and offers peace of mind when travelling was also important, along with a spare room for grandchildren,” she added.

Developers would do well to note Savills advice and while they’re at it, not overlook the need for eco-friendly inclusions in downsizer properties too.

Don’t ignore the environment when designing homes for downsizers

More research, this time from Nielson, found that 51% of baby boomers are willing to pay extra for products and services from those companies committed to positive social and environmental change.

However, eco-friendly houses and developments don’t just deliver the feel-good factor – they can help downsizers shave their utility bills.

By designing homes that cut back consumption of energy, water, and garbage collection services, developers can help downsizers pocket valuable savings. That’s a significant appeal because, for those in or near retirement, every cent saved counts.

The bottom line is that eco-friendly property features don’t only allow downsizers to mollify their eco-conscience, it means more money to spend on their retirement lifestyle. This outcome is a win-win in my book!

To catch up with the latest trends and developments in the downsizing housing market, be sure to catch up with the latest episode of the Downsizing Show.


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


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