Right now, there’s a boom in downsizing. More than one million older Australians are expected to downsize over the next five years. This reflects retirees re-thinking where they want to live, how they want to live, and what they want out of retirement.

Obviously, downsizing happens for a wide range of reasons. However, the reality is that as we age, the family home can feel isolating. Not only does it become harder to maintain, but it also ties up valuable equity.

This blog will walk you through common downsizing options as well as the advantages of downsizing. Here’s what we’ll cover:

Click the links above to jump to each section.

Apartments and townhouses

Freedom and lifestyle. That’s what downsizing to an apartment or townhouse is all about.

For younger retirees, moving from the family home into an easier-to-manage unit is a liberating experience. Say goodbye to house and yard maintenance and hello to a new lifestyle-rich area!

While buying for your current situation is important, planning for your future is also key. Be sure to consider what you and your partner might need in 10 to 15 years’ time. Fortunately, developers are increasingly building units with ageing in mind. These developments generally, feature larger floorplans, multiple bedrooms, and generous kitchens.

It’s important to note that while new complexes may be aggressively marketed to retirees, the building may or may not have an age limit. It all depends on the state you’re looking to buy in.

For example, NSW has a policy encouraging the development of new homes for over 55s and is looking to increase this age limit to over 60.

Land Lease Communities

A land lease describes a situation where you own your own home but not the land it sits on. For use of the land, you pay weekly rent to your community operator.

Although you might not know it, land lease communities grew out of the concept of permanent dwellings in caravan parks. These days, caravans and trailers are long gone. In their place are high quality prefab homes that look identical to a traditional home or villa. This humble origin also means a lot of land lease communities are in great coastal and rural hubs.

While it’s a different model than owning your property outright, it is far more affordable. Buying into a land lease is exempt from stamp duty and council rates. This is perfect for retirees who want the lifestyle and freedom of owning their own home, but might not want the large upfront expense of buying property.

These communities also offer a great range of facilities. Think pools, bowling greens, bars, gyms, and clubhouses. In recent years, it has even become common to include prestige facilities like bars, indoor cinemas, and golf simulators!

Serviced Apartments

When it comes to serviced apartments, the name really does say it all. These are apartments or units where you receive support services. These include cleaning, fresh linen, meals and sometimes low-level allied care support.

The type of services offered will vary between each provider. Most providers require you to undergo an assessment so they can determine how much help you will need day to day.

Serviced apartments tend to be smaller. They’re usually one bedroom with a kitchen suited to light meal preparation only. Generally, the main meal of the day is provided in a communal dining room.

Serviced apartments range from budget orientated options to higher-end, prestige accommodation.

It’s important to know that serviced apartments on the cheaper end are highly sought after. This can make securing one quite competitive.

Retirement Villages

Of all the downsizing options available, Retirement Villages are the most well-known, and possibly, the most misunderstood. So, let’s get it out of the way: retirement villages aren’t stuffy institutions or nursing homes.

They’re small, well-organised communities that thrive in both regional and urban settings. Their residents live independently in their own dwellings and can come and go as they please.

Retirement villages typically offer a range of services and facilities for residents. Common facilities include community centres, social programs, wellness centres, gyms, bowling alleys and movie cinemas.

Recent trends have seen retirement villages shift from a resort lifestyle to supportive communities with access to care services. Importantly, the operator maintains an ongoing management role. This means there is a responsible person who keeps an eye out for you and your interests as you age.

Rental Villages

Rental villages represent a great rental-only housing option, combining independence with support and community. Rental villages mainly provide accommodation to older people, starting at 60+ and going well into the 80s. Due to a more affordable price point, rental villages tend to be based in outer metropolitan and regional areas.

In Australia, we have two types of rental villages. The first is the traditional retirement village. In this model, the operator provides several village units available for rent.

The second is the single-purpose rental village. It’s a gated community, usually consisting of single bedrooms or studio units and a community dining area.

Like serviced apartments, rental villages range from low cost to more premium options. Similarly, cheaper rental village accommodation is very competitive. Many rental villages have means testing and will prioritise retirees with cash flow issues.

Finding the perfect downsizing option

As you’ve probably picked up from this blog there’s no such thing as the perfect downsizing option. There is, however, the perfect downsizing option for you.

How do you find it? Well, it all starts by browsing through our huge range of listings on villages.com.au. Not only can you search by area, but you can also look at listings by the type of accommodation.

Still confused? Try our free online service, YourConcierge101. All you need to do is answer some simple questions and we’ll provide you with your own toolkit tailored to your specific circumstance. Click the button below to find out more today.

New call-to-action