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The Rise and Rise of Downsizers

By Guest Blogger, Peter Koulizos, property lecturer and author


 The downsizing market continues to grow. More and more people with families whose children have grown up and left the house are looking for a new home.

They are in a quandary as the don’t need as many bedrooms because the children have left home yet they don’t want to buy/build too small a home as they may not get a good resale price and are worried that there won’t be enough room for when the grandkids come over.

The other issue they consider is that even though they want to downsize, they don’t want to downgrade. They would like to live in a smaller home than they currently live in but they are not willing to live in a home that is in poorer condition or worse than what they currently live in.

Modern low rise medium density seems to be the answer for many downsizers.


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Firstly, as it is new or almost new it is in very good condition. It has all the modern conveniences they want such as air conditioning, alfresco, dishwasher and ensuite bathroom and realize that because the home is new or fairly new, the cost of maintenance and repairs will be relatively low. This is very important as downsizers start to retire and will remain on a fixed income.

Secondly, the space they want is in the building and not the land. A spacious home is very important when downsizing as much of their recreation time will be spent indoors rather than outdoors. Whilst at home they will be on the computer planning their next holiday, working out a Suduko or watching TV and when the grandkids come over, they will be playing on a screen rather than playing outside or riding a bike.

Downsizers may have enjoyed living on a large block of land when their kids were growing up but they don’t want that anymore. They also don’t want to spend their weekends mowing the lawn and looking after a large high maintenance garden. A small garden with enough backyard space to entertain when friends and family come over is just fine.

Local councils and state governments need to seriously consider this move to downsize by baby boomers. They are not ready for a retirement village or aged care facility but are ready for something new, with all the modern conveniences and don’t want a large block of land. Some relatively simple measures to cater for downsizers include:


  • The ability to build dwellings on relatively small allotments of land.
  • Consider reducing setbacks from front, rear and side boundaries so as to maximize the building envelope.
  • Allow construction on the boundary so as to maximize the building envelope.
  • Encourage the construction of low rise medium density developments in all reasonably sized greenfield and infill developments.


If there was a greater choice of housing for downsizers, this would free up the market for the younger generation. They would be able to move into these older homes, possibly upgrade or extend them and start their family if they so choose. This would provide a win/win situation. Downsizers move to newer and more suitable accommodation whilst first home buyers and the younger generation will find it easier to get into the property market. Everyone wins!


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