Choosing if and when to downsize is a long, well-thought-out decision. Maybe you’ve always envisioned selling the family home when you reached a certain age, to help the kids enter the property market. A life event might’ve also triggered the desire to move, or seeing friends secure incredible prices in the past two years.
There are many reasons to consider downsizing. Most likely, you’ll sit with the idea for months, maybe years. You’ll talk at length with family and friends about the best time to do it. But just like every other move, there’s no one right way. There are too many factors in the downsizing journey to follow one specific trajectory. Your house might be ready to sell while your neighbour’s property requires maintenance, which will affect the speed of the sale.
We launched Homesuite for this reason — to guide you along the downsizing process, bringing in talented professionals for your specific needs… decluttering, cleaning, packing, selling advice, conveyancing, finding the top local agents, removalists, and utilities. We’re here for you, through it all.
Downsizing your property isn’t just about moving into seniors housing. Many Australians are choosing to start the process earlier in life.
The ‘less is more’ minimalist philosophy is evident in the growing number of Aussies who are downsizing in their 50s. The notion of something more compact and manageable is lucrative for families with teenagers going off to university or starting their careers. For the 50s age group, lifestyle benefits are the key driver for downsizing. Walking anywhere, being close to the city (or beach), the ‘cafe lifestyle’, and a strong community all play into the decision to downsize early. A recent study showed more than half of Australians over 55 are open to downsizing.
There’s a middle property group that sits in between the large family home and retirement villages. Housing options for empty nesters include small houses, townhouses, and apartments. This segment of housing is appealing to people in their mid 50s who might go through multiple downsizing steps.
With 65+ being the target retirement age, this is the most common decade for Australians to downsize. Although, there is no fixed age to transition to retirement and it’s an individual’s choice how much or how little they work. The Government’s scheme that enables downsizers 60 and above to turbocharge their superannuation with a one-off $300,000 contribution makes this age bracket a popular time to make a move. The house, however, has to be owned for 10 years to access this program.
This is also the time when the kids have left home and there’s just too much unused space. Reducing belongings and upkeep, helping the kids get a house of their own and aspirations for a travel all play into downsizing at this age. The empty nester lifestyle changes housing needs.
Babysitting, travel and enjoying retirement are likely the priorities for people in their 60s.
Retirement villages aren’t what they used to be. With the rise of lifestyle-centric complexes, moving into a residential community doesn’t evoke the same ‘old’ connotations. These communities have yoga studios, pools, bars, cafes, restaurants, rooftops, green spaces, group classes, parking, and much more. It’s about convenience, location, lifestyle, and luxury — unearthing a youthful, lively spirit.
Of course, there are also traditional retirement villages, aged care facilities, units, apartments, townhouses, and small houses. People who downsize in the 75+ age group prioritise health, emotional wellbeing, access to services, proximity to family, the state of their finances, and the things they’ve ‘always wanted to do.’
Most people, around 85%, however, will downsize before age 70.
Let’s help you find the perfect time to downsize
Working out the best time to downsize takes a lot of planning, thought and strategic advice. Think about all the factors that might influence your decision — your work (if any), finances, health, kids, future goals, and lifestyle preference.
Alongside your superannuation, it’s also important to learn about the pension requirements, specifically the income and asset tests. Non-homeowners can access higher pensions than people who own properties. It’s also worth looking into property tax after retirement, to help guide your next choice of real estate.
The earlier you can start to map out your downsizing trajectory, the better. It’s never too soon to reach out to us, at Homesuite.
We’ve helped hundreds of Australians through the downsizing journey, from decision to a successful sale… that you’ll enjoy for many years to come.