Inner-City Downsizers: A Growing Trend

October 18th, 2019 - by Brad Gillespie

The inner city draws in a wide variety of buyers.

It’s where many Sydney-siders take the first step on the property ladder, a place that young families call home and the ideal area for students who are in easy proximity to some of Sydney’s best universities.

More recently, areas such as Alexandria, Redfern and surrounds have captivated downsizers who are in search of a low-maintenance property with the perks of an urban lifestyle – which is what inner-city Sydney is known for. If the trend continues, these buyers will make up a significant proportion of the buyer demand in this area.

Who are the downsizers?

According to the AFR, last year more than one million homeowners were reported to have plans to downsize within five years.

Their intentions may have been bolstered by government laws, which allow those over 65 to make a non-concessional contribution of $300,000 from the sale of their property into their superannuation.

Still, research shows that this cohort is not so motivated by money. They tend to move for emotional reasons – like the loss of a partner, physical challenges with their current home, or a desire to overhaul their lifestyle.

The bulk of these are baby boomers and their average age is 64. They are in good health and tend to have more money than their parents’ generation. In other words, they are looking to enjoy their retirement.

What are downsizers looking for?

In 2016, Sydney ranked as the world’s best city to retire in thanks to the winning combination of sunshine, affordable healthcare and well-priced cappuccinos.

There some downsizers who want to age in their current location. Others are looking for a lifestyle change and are drawn to the cosmopolitan inner city and cafes. This demographic is also drawn to the inner city due to the range of accessible public spaces from swimming pools, to libraries – even if they are new to this part of Sydney they are comforted by the fact that they won’t be isolated. Some simply want to be close to the action, or have university-aged children who love the benefits of the inner city.

Prestige developments like Alexandria’s One Sydney Park are a hit thanks to the promise of retail and wellness facilities on-site, so retirees who plan to spend a lot of time in or near their home are enticed with the knowledge that they will be active and engaged.

The growing demand in the inner city seems to be for small-scale, boutique strata complexes. In particular:

  • Single-level dwellings that are low maintenance
  • Double-storey houses with the main bedroom on the ground floor and lift access - or the potential for it - to other areas
  • Layouts where bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms are close
  • Apartments or townhouses with a spare bedroom or two for friends and grandchildren
  • Homes that can be locked up and left when travel opportunities arise
  • Proximity to shops, restaurants and cafes is crucial for a sense of belonging
  • Doctors, pharmacists and hospitals are also important for practical reasons
  • Proximity to transport is also important especially in suburbs with limited parking
  • Pet-friendly by-laws are crucial for those who crave a furry companion.

What this means for a vendor

Downsizers are understandably often sentimental buyers. They are looking for their ‘forever home’ and are likely to have an extensive list of well-thought-out practical requirements, but also be more emotional about the process than the first-home buyer or investor.

They may also be selling their family home, which is a melancholy process at the best of times. But the upside of this is that they often have healthy budgets which allow them to be more discerning.

Because they are moving into a smaller property they will have to make delicate decisions about what to do with their existing possessions.

Here are a few characteristics that are appealing to this downsizers market:

  • Space. They may be downsizing to a smaller property but downsizers are typically coming from a large family home, so they don’t always want to compromise on space. Flexible layouts and multi-purpose spaces are popular, as are larger style apartments and small houses.
  • Ample storage is essential. Downsizers often have a large amount of possessions – butler’s pantries, garden sheds and built-in wardrobes will be considered a plus.
  • High quality finishes. Downsizers often do not intend to move again and while some are looking for a renovation project, others do not want to spend a lot of time with the hassle of renovating. Stone benchtops, custom joinery and the latest kitchen appliances are always assets but particularly to this demographic.
  • Flat entry ways and accessibility. Avoiding steps where possible and having easily accessible parking is a plus.
  • Low-maintenance gardens. An entertaining courtyard with pavers is often more appealing than lawns and grass.
  • Home security. Downsizers tend to value security and can feel vulnerable to theft.

If you’re looking to downsize in Sydney’s Inner City get in touch today.