Rightsizing is the new alternative for Aussie retirees who want space and luxury

Feb 10, 2020
A growing number of Australian buyers are looking for low-maintenance properties with house-like proportions and resort-style facilities. Source: Getty

Downsizing is a term that gets thrown around a lot, especially when it comes to planning for or adjusting to retirement. But for some, the thought of selling their large, family home and moving into a small, pokey apartment or unit is unappealing.

A growing number of Australian buyers are looking for low-maintenance properties with house-like proportions and resort-style facilities, according to the Rightsizing: Australian Prime Insight 2020 report released by Knight Frank.

The report found that  ‘active retirees’ — those who are over 55 and favour city or urban living — are looking to ‘rightsize’ rather than downsize in retirement, preferring a home that suits their lifestyle, rather than just trading their family home in for something smaller.

Their property purchase of choice? Luxury three-bedroom apartments with at least two secured car spaces close to activity hubs in city-centre locations.

Other features that appeal to buyers, according to the report, include in-house amenities, a good view and aspect, concierge services, easy access to transport links, a sense of community within the complex and a modern, secure building. Buyers want a smaller property with house-like proportions.

The report found that the move to rightsize was due to a desire for a simpler lifestyle which requires little maintenance and the ability to ‘lock-up-and-leave’ should the need to travel arise.

“For active retirees, many buyers tell us their house is no longer required to provide the lifestyle they want,” Michelle Ciesieelski, head of residential research, Australia at Knight Frank said.  “Often the cost to upkeep the home, pool and garden outweighs the surplus space they once desired. Downsizing the living areas is not part of this movement – the yard most certainly – but the new luxury apartment must be the right size, with amenities to match. Rightsizers want to be in a walkable location with proximity to activity hubs and amenities.

“From the apartment itself, they desire high security and concierge and lock-up-and-leave, a reputable developer and builder with certainty of delivery, single-level, in-house amenities, a good view and aspect, access to transport links, a sense of community within the complex, smart living technology and a modern new building.”

The switch in narrative from downsizing to rightsizing is one of nine global trends Knight Frank will continue to monitor over coming years. And while the move is most popular among active retirees, there is also a growing number of entrepreneurs and families embracing the trend, in a bid to capitalise on the lifestyle and luxury that rightsizing enables.

“We see this [rightsizing] at a much earlier stage than in previous years given the agile, transient and global nature of our work and play,” the report said.

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