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Rightsizing is the new downsizing

Downsizing has been replaced with rightsizing as Baby Boomers and older Gen X-ers adapt their homes to their lifestyles. 

The quarter-acre block with three bedrooms and a spacious garden may be the ‘Great Australian Dream’ but for some people the idea of pushing a lawnmower around a patch of grass for fifty years feels more like a nightmare. 

As Australia’s property owners evolve, so do their needs. This is leading to the rise of ‘in-betweener’ properties, which feel like home but offer more convenience and security than a freestanding house. 

Introducing ‘rightsizing’

For Baby Boomers and older Gen X-ers whose children have flown the nest, there is a gap between wanting to manage a family home and being ready to live in a retirement village.

These 50-70 year olds (give or take a few years) are ‘rightsizing’; selling their houses and seeking smaller dwellings so they can invest in a holiday home, go travelling or have less to do in terms of maintenance and care. 

This demographic is seeking smaller homes and units or townhouses with secure parking and modern features. The ideal property may have two bedrooms or two bedrooms and a study so visiting family members can be accommodated but there is far less vacuuming required. 

While downsizing can feel like a dirty word and conjures up pictures of poky apartments, rightsizers still have plenty of space but a lot more personal freedom. The move can be an excellent way to free up cash; either to retire with, to invest elsewhere or to support a family member who needs help with a deposit for a home of their own. 

Why rightsize?

Downsizing can be a shock to the system when it comes to decluttering and getting rid of a lifetime and a big home’s worth of belongings. With rightsizing, you can ‘step down’ and do a big clean out without having to go from a four or five bedroom place to a tiny unit. 

Rightsizing offers the benefit of completely independent living. While retirement villages appeal to many people, there is often a great deal of internal politics and many rules governing activities and resident behaviour. If it’s not for you, moving to a unit or townhouse can be the answer. Choose the right block and you will still have the benefits of a community — it’s likely you will have other like minded rightsizers as your neighbours. 

When you rightsize to a lovely new home in a good area, you have the potential to list your place on Airbnb or a similar platform when you’re away travelling (p.s Welcome back holidays! We missed you). Holidaymakers are looking for well-presented, convenient homes to lease when they visit popular areas and you get the benefit of making some additional cash.

Rightsizer homes are usually far newer as well. Buyers get modern appliances and conveniences like automatic garage doors, improved security systems and better insulation against our hot Brisbane summers. 

The other benefit is strategic. If you decide to sell your family home and if you are over the age of 60, you can contribute up to $300,000 from the proceeds of the sale of your home into your superannuation fund (provided it is your primary residence and you have owned it for more than ten years). This will help to boost your retirement savings and minimise the tax you pay on the sale. 

Now’s the time to rightsize

The good news about rightsizing is the influx of young families who are in upsize mode in 2022. 

Many buyers are seeking to relocate from Sydney to Brisbane so they can get more value for money and finally have the space they want. 

Upsizing is an exciting time when you’re a young family but right now there is a shortage of quality properties, especially throughout the inner city Brisbane. Rightsizers are receiving great offers, especially if they have been able to invest in a few cosmetic upgrades to add to the appeal of their freestanding homes.

I hope you enjoy the read.

Matt Lancashire