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August 7th, 2017

The upside of downsizing

Older Australians may be looking to downsize from their four-bedroom, free-standing family home but that doesn’t mean they want to downsize their lifestyle.

In fact, many Baby Boomers see moving as an opportunity to upgrade their lifestyles, and are choosing the hustle and bustle of the city over backyard sheds and sewing rooms.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of empty-nester households in Australia will grow by 14 percent by 2021. Retirees already occupy a third of our medium-density housing – and they want more from that housing than ever before.

The latest federal budget provides downsizing incentives, with older Australians able to pump an extra $300,000 per person into their superannuation funds from the sale proceeds of the family home.

The incentive, to start from July 2018, is designed to remove a key barrier to downsizing.

Alongside this incentive, a small home presents a range of financial sweeteners, from lower utility bills and easier maintenance through to a mortgage-free life.

While downsizing may be good for the bank balance, the decision to downsize is not dominated by financial considerations. For example, Curtin University’s Keeping a roof over our heads report has found that a low-maintenance home is the number one driver for downsizing.

Social researcher Neer Korn, who has spent more than two decades tracking the attitudes of Australians, says Baby Boomers see retirement as “a time of new beginnings”.

And for many empty nesters, that new beginning is an apartment in the city, with café culture on their doorstep, shops and services a short walk away, and friends and family nearby.

Large gardens are traded in for sunny aspects, and double garages for walkable streets.

Apartments like On Forbes offer just that.

Picture apartments with plenty of space to hang fine art, storage galore, generous sun-filled balconies and architect-designed kitchens with state-of-the-art appliances. Imagine expansive views across the city and a light rail stop just metres from your front door.

Just as the Baby Boomers have reinvented every stage of their lives, from teenage to retirement, they are now reinventing the Great Australian Dream. And, as they do, they are finding new ways of living.