Buoyed by decades of capital growth in their family home, and looking for lifestyle-rich properties, downsizers are an increasingly important target market for Australian developers.
The good news is that, with the launch of Downsizing.com.au, developers now have a new way to reach this booming over 50s market.
Downsizing.com.au is the new name of the portal founded as Seniors Housing Online in 2003 by NSW-based sisters-in-law Catherine and Amanda Graham. Catherine and Amanda founded the company following a fruitless online search for retirement property for an elderly relative.
Over the past 16 years, the portal has been used by millions of Australians to find traditional seniors housing, such as retirement villages or land lease communities.
Now, the portal is expanding its focus to all downsizer-friendly property, including apartments and villas, with the launch of a refreshed mobile-friendly website and new product offerings.
“The changes we are announcing today cement our position as Australia’s number one destination for all over 50s property,” Amanda said.
"We are making this change to reflect the fact that baby boomers are doing things differently and want to look for a wide range of accommodation options.
“They are downsizing with vastly higher lifestyle expectations and greater freedom of choice than prior generations. We also know that developers are changing their approach to better cater for this market segment.”
Downsizing.com.au has a loyal following, with some 165,000 overall website visits each month and more than 40,000 email subscribers and Facebook followers.
Its audience is undergoing rapid growth, with a 116 per cent increase in property listing views and a 36.6 per cent increase in email inquiries submitted about listed properties between June 2018 and June 2019.
Alongside its new website, Downsizing.com.au has launched five weekly State newsletters, supported by a newsroom with interesting and insightful consumer-facing content by senior professional journalists.
This content seeks to provide advice and information to guide consumers through the many options available in retirement living and downsizing.
Downsizing.com.au has also launched a series of new client services, including sponsored content, newsletter advertising and sponsored social media boosts.
A report by CBRE in May 2019, found that owner-occupiers (including downsizers) are dominating Australia’s key Sydney and Melbourne real estate markets, particularly with the withdrawal of many overseas investors.
The report found that the percentage of sales to owner-occupiers between October 2018 and March 2019 jumped from 42 per cent to 52 per cent in Sydney and 39 per cent to 53 per cent in Melbourne.
The increasing downsizer activity is not surprising.
Many older Australians are sitting on substantial wealth to fund their downsizing purchase (they have seen the value of their homes grow 412 per cent over the last 25 years alone).
The majority of these homeowners are motivated by the need to find more manageable and lifestyle-rich later life properties, rather than specific market conditions.
There have never been more Australians in the downsizing age group, and the population is set to continue expanding throughout the rest of this century.
In June 2018, some 8.3 million Australians were aged 50 and over, 11 per cent more than the 7.51 million five years earlier.
According to Productivity Commission, about one in five of this huge number of over 50s will downsize at some stage during their lives.
The buyers are taking advantage of an Australian Government tax incentive, which allows downsizers to top-up their superannuation by releasing equity from the family home. In fact, since July 2018, downsizers have put $1 billion into their superannuation funds.
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