Five Smart Ways To Downsize

Credit: Seniors Housing Online
Five Smart Ways To Downsize
Written by: Ron Reed

There are many different ways to "downsize", and they don't all mean moving to a smaller home! Your home is your biggest asset and it can help set you up for the rest of your life if you plan carefully.

What do you want to achieve? Is it living a new and better lifestyle? Getting rid of the mortgage and freeing up capital gain to live on? Travelling more frequently and for longer periods? Reducing living costs? Opting out of time consuming home and garden maintenance? Helping the kids get into a home of their own? Being closer to the grandchildren? All of the above?

Option 1 – The sea or tree change

Not all downsizers want to move to a smaller home. Some want to upsize their retirement savings and free up more money to live on, which can be done by moving to a less expensive area.

Sea and tree change locations can often make this possible, and offer an appealing lifestyle in the process. For example, research by super industry body ASFA found a downsizer moving from metropolitan Sydney to Forster-Tuncurry on the NSW north coast, can potentially pocket $650,000 – the difference in the median house price between the two markets. [1]

It makes regional markets with decent facilities including medical care, a place to watch out for.

Option 2 – An apartment with room to move

Downsizers still want room to play, relax and enjoy life – they just don’t want responsibility for maintaining and paying for it all. Apartments can fulfill this wish list. But it doesn’t mean downsizers will gravitate to small apartments – far from it.

Research shows downsizers typically move from three- and four-bedroom dwellings to two- and three-bedroom homes – not single bedders. It’s not a problem if the unit doesn’t have space to have a barbecue or hold gatherings – as long as the complex itself offers areas for these.[2]

Apartments that incorporate retail and dining precincts are popular, allowing downsizers to remain connected to their community and easily socialise with friends and family.

Option 3 – The granny flat

Multi-generation living is on the rise, increasing by almost 32% in the last decade. Studies show one of the most common scenarios is grandparents living with the core family unit due to their need for care or to help raise their grandkids to save on child care costs. [3] It can also be a practical way for parents to help their children get into the housing market.

It’s a trend fueling demand for larger homes with self-contained grandparent accommodation, including duplexes and backyard granny flats.

Option 4 – The motor home

Visit a nearby camping ground and chances are you’ll come across a plethora of silver-haired travelers, wheeling their way around the country in a fully kitted out motor home complete with satellite TV.

It’s not uncommon for retirees to trade their home for a Winnebago and head off around Australia. What’s less clear is what happens after these downsizers complete their first lap of the nation. Nonetheless, it shows that for many seniors, retirement is a time when travel goals are taken very seriously indeed. Parking for the Winnebago or the caravan may be the clincher when selling the family home and downsizing to a new lock up and leave home base.

Option 5 – Migrate overseas

Sun, sand, blue skies and a very low cost lifestyle. It can be very appealing for cash-strapped retirees, and around 80,000 Australians are living overseas while still claiming an Australian Age Pension. Favoured spots include Italy, Greece and New Zealand. [4]

Even if permanent migration isn’t on the cards, extensive and lengthy regular overseas trips may well be – so again, a low maintenance, low hassle, lock up and leave home base is essential.

The nub of all this, is that downsizing means different things to different people.

So there is no such thing as the “typical” downsizer - it's not a case of one size fits all!

New developments are now recognising the diverse range of motivations involved in downsizing in order to attract this growing demographic, offering many different lifestyle options, budgets, and locations.

Search the website now to find your perfect downsizing option!



[2] Downsizing amongst older Australians, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute at The University of New South Wales, 2014

[3] McGrath Report 2018



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