Developers would do well to take note that even former prime ministers have been caught up in the downsizing apartment trend.

Last week it was widely reported that ailing former PM Bob Hawke is selling his Northbridge home on the leafy Lower North Shore of Sydney for $14 million to downsize to a Sydney CBD pad. 

While I am not a party to the former PM's new digs or its location, what I do know is that minimal maintenance living, which is close to shops, transport, and services such as hospitals are high priorities for most downsizers seeking to shift to apartment living.

Interestingly, financial considerations are often less critical to downsizers - suggesting that older Australians are happy to pay for what they want, according to one recent housing industry report. Instead, the ability to trim living costs and move to an attractive area are more important considerations.

Also, several industry studies have shown that retirees prefer two and three bedroom apartments rather than smaller one-bedroom units. Downsizers also want enough space to entertain and accommodate visiting family and friends. However, developers would do well to note, where space is limited, downsizers report they are comfortable with access to shared common areas.

Decent security, a senior-friendly home layout, and adequate storage are other items commonly found on the wish lists of many retirees and are features worth including in apartment design.

Quality construction is another must for many downsizers, and underscores the merits of maintaining exceptionally high standards of construction with clear plans in place for regular maintenance.

Diversity of design is another essential feature for developers when creating accommodation with downsizers in mind. Offering a variety and choice of layout and size of apartment options improves the likelihood that your apartments will tick boxes for a broader range of downsizers.

From an economic perspective, offering a diverse range of apartment designs is a way of overcoming the affordability barrier too. Offering more choice makes it harder for downsizers to stay put because they argue there is a scarcity of more manageable properties that are within their budgets.

Greg Oddy is Director of Sales and Marketing at