In 1950s Australia, the message ‘Populate or Perish’ was received with gusto by Australian families, many of whom produced several children to boost the foundations of the nation.
As we near the year 2020, this ‘Baby Boomer’ generation is reaching their twilight years. Their children are grown and have flown the nest, work is winding down and their housing needs are changing from spacious family blocks to practical apartments.
Unlike previous generations, the Baby Boomers are not letting retirement slow them down. They still consider themselves to be healthy and are looking to stay active by enrolling in university, working part time, caring for grandchildren, or volunteering.
When downsizing, over 60s are not looking to close the door on life. Instead, they are seeking living spaces which enhance their lifestyles.
The ideal retirement pad
When moving out of the family home, downsizers are seeking a place they can live in for the next fifteen to twenty years.
For some, this means finding an apartment in an independent living retirement village. These residences provide access to on-call emergency care and fosters a community through organised activities and common areas.
Some retirement villages have restaurants on site. Others offer three levels of care, beginning at independent living, progressing to assisted living and finally accommodating those who need full time support.
While retirement village living has its appeals, many seniors prefer to live independently in a medium density apartment block. When seeking their new apartment, they have specific criteria in mind which will help them stay in their downsized home for longer.
A practical senior’s apartment or bungalow will include the following:
Secure parking for peace of mind
Ground floor or elevator access
Level floor plan with few or no stairs
Modern kitchen for cooking at home
Spare bedroom or study for the grandkids and guests
Security fixtures on doors and windows
Pet friendly for the fur-baby
Older buyer wishlists will also include conveniences such as:
Gymnasium / swimming pool / sauna
Car park storage cage for extra belongings
Grass areas or common rooms which can be booked for parties
Building concierge to help recommend and book tradespeople
Cleaners who are contracted to the complex
Parkland or water views
Local hop-on / hop-off shuttle
Local dog park / off leash area
Easy walk to local shops
Proximity to doctor’s offices and the local hospital
Proximity to playgrounds for the grandkids
Men’s Shed for pottering around and sharing tools
This is an extensive list! However, with so many downsizers on the market, developers are becoming savvy to what they are looking for. They understand these buyers often have over $1 million to play with after selling the family home and are designing homes to be optimised for convenience and easy living.
For Australian real estate agents, downsizers are a key demographic. It makes sense to be abreast of what developments are coming up in your area and to provide tailored support to help seniors make the best choices.