The Australian downsizing industry has a bright future in the post-COVID-19 period with downsizers seeking more spacious homes, off-street parking facilities and less crowded neighbourhoods.

While COVID-19 may have left its impact on business and industry across the country, a new report from suggests that Australian downsizers are reconsidering their existing living arrangements after experiencing the disadvantages of social isolation during the pandemic. The report was compiled from 1,800 survey responses.

According to the report ‘Why Downsizing has a bright post-COVID-19 future’ written by editor Mark Skelsey, downsizers are seriously considering relocation to find housing that meets all of their new requirements.

The forced isolation of the past few months has also educated downsizers about the benefits of living with friends and community managers in a dedicated downsizing development, where they don’t have to worry about chores or maintenance tasks.

Not only are they looking for developments with more personal space, either within or around the home, they also want their own parking spot so they don’t need to rely on public transport. This consumer segment is also increasingly flexible about moving to less crowded neighbourhoods in regional areas, which have been less impacted by COVID-19, or places that would bring them closer to family and friends.

Regardless of the pandemic-affected economy, Australian over 50s are financially capable of funding a retirement living purchase as they have enjoyed years of capital growth in their family home value. The isolation has also made them savvy enough to scout for homes online.

Key findings of the survey of Australian over 50s:

  • Roughly 1 in 3 is likely to downsize because of COVID-19 – moving to a like-minded community and reducing maintenance chores are key motivations;
  • 54% want two or more bedrooms, up from 48% in a pre-COVID-19 survey;
  • 56% regard garages and 54% regard parking spots as essential – up from less than 50% pre-COVID-19;
  • Only 38% want to be close to public transport, down from around 45% pre-COVID-19;
  • Only 16% want to stay in the same area, down from 18% pre-COVID-19;
  • 20% of all people looking to relocate due to COVID-19 are doing so to move out of a crowded environment.

Interestingly, Queensland seems to be a popular destination for downsizers – more than one in three survey respondents wanted to downsize in Queensland when only one in four was actually based in the State.

Downsizing was emerging from the pandemic with a strengthened value proposition, observed co-CEO Amanda Graham.

“We can see in this survey how COVID-19 has accelerated many over 50s housing trends already underway, including a desire for independent living and greater space and transport autonomy,” Graham said.

“In addition, COVID-19 has encouraged people to move to new areas, which they perceive as being safe but also where they can find new friends and enjoy a great lifestyle.

“During COVID-19, we have also really seen a very strong structural shift to consumer search activity on digital channels.”

Download the report.