In the latest episode of the downsizing show, we explore decisions that cause people to downsize. While empty nesters downsizing from their family homes into smaller apartments is nothing new, the trend is only getting larger as new waves of retirees come through.
But what is driving these downsizers to...downsize?
A study conducted by The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute recently identified a number of key drivers behind the decision to downsize. The most common factor by far for most Australians was a desire for a change in lifestyle. This was followed by the inability to maintain the home and/or the garden, children leaving home, retirement, relationship breakdown, health, and disability factors. Financial motivations weren’t a concern for many Australians, but among these, financial gain was a more common motivation than financial difficulty.
To help you decide whether you want to downsize, the show will give you the information you need to know about downsizing. Today, we’ll focus on retirement villages and other lifestyle villages.
Look at more than the price
When buying a home in an over 50’s village make sure to consider more than just the advertised price. We ask Amanda and Catherine Graham from downsizing.com.au to share the fees and choices that apply to downsizing. Because believe us, it can get confusing to research about this topic.
Amanda says that the most important thing to do before you actually commit to buying something is to get good legal and financial advice. You need to know exactly what it is that you’re buying.
She says that it’s not a case of “one-size-fits-all”. There are so many different types and different types will suit different people. For example, if they’re buying a retirement apartment or villa, downsizers may be entitled to government rent assistance if they’re actually on the age pension.
Legislation also varies from state to state so that adds complexity to the whole thing. There’s been a move to try and make it more uniform, but it now, it still varies quite a bit. This is why getting good legal advice is very important.
Downsizing is also a very emotional decision, especially for the person that you might be searching for accommodation for. So it's best that you actually have all of that research, nodded out before you start searching for accommodation.
That's why when Amanda and Catherine started the website, downsizing.com.au, they wanted the search to be as kind and easy as possible. They went through the same hoops themselves when they were searching for a home for their father. So when people come to their site, they actually don't know what they're looking for. To help them, the site has varying layers of accommodation that you can buy, as well as photographs, some information about the property, so that they can actually be equipped when they look for downsized property.
Legal titles vary greatly. Sometimes people are buying a leasehold interest in a place, sometimes they're buying a real locatable home, so there are many, many different types there are also many different ways of cutting the financials involved in going into different villages. So as we keep saying it is very important to get both legal advice and financial advice before committing to move into a village or retirement property.
Downsizing.com.au was created for consumers by Amanda and Catherine Graham. They've always approached downsizing from the consumer’s side so they want it to be a consumer site.It's a one stop shop online, available 24 seven, that allows people to do that early research.
The site and the Grahams don't pretend to be an expert advisor. But they do point people in the right direction and raise issues that they should be thinking about and may not even be aware of.
Rise in rents
There has been a massive increase in the number of consumers that are looking for rental retirement accommodation. However, the financial model doesn't stack up in the major capital cities where the cost of land is very expensive. So, there are some very good winter villages which are around but they tend to be in regional areas or areas where the land isn't quite so expensive.
They’re very popular because it means that people can have security of tenure, they can be in a like minded community, and they can socialise with people around them.