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Downsizer incentives would aid affordability

By Sarah Lefebvre on Apr 10 2017

Incentivising seniors to downsize to more appropriate accommodation would benefit wider housing affordability, according to LJ Hooker and Seniors Housing Online.

Ahead of the release of a joint company White Paper this month which canvasses the housing concerns of over-50s across Australia, the leading real estate network and retirement property portal encouraged the Federal Government to make downsizing more attractive in the May Budget, saying its benefits would extend far beyond seniors.

The LJ Hooker-Seniors Housing Online survey found 38.3% of respondents were living in properties with two spare bedrooms. Furthermore, almost one in five (18.6%) had three or more unused bedrooms in their family home.

LJ Hooker’s Head of Research Mathew Tiller said policy which gave seniors the confidence to move on from the family home to more appropriate lodgings would benefits the real estate market’s ‘ecosystem’.

“Supply is the centrepiece of affordability, and in 2016 there was a 9.2% reduction, year-on-year, in the number of properties which changed hands in Australia,” said Mr Tiller.

“New development helps supply but encouraging the sale of properties in the secondary market – where the market’s focus is - would make prices more sustainable. It would help the real estate ecosystem, allowing second, third or fourth family home buyers to upgrade.

“Across Australia, there’s dust gathering in unused bedrooms of seniors who would rather be living in something that better suits their mobility and is more affordable, and would happily do so if their interests were considered.”

Preliminary findings of the LJ Hooker-Seniors Housing Online survey found three-quarters of respondents wanted to downsize.

Amanda Graham, Co-CEO of Seniors Housing Online welcomed the Treasurer’s speech, saying:
“It’s good to see recognition of how the housing market situation is impacting on retirees, including more older people renting, bigger mortgages taking longer to pay off, and the use of super to pay down mortgages.
“Downsizers play an important role in unlocking property supply with flow on benefits to those on every other step on the ladder, including first home buyers.”

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