Conference paper
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Abstract: Of the 18% of Australians 50 years of age and older who moved between 2006 and 2011, it is estimated that around half had downsized by number of bedrooms. The majority downsized into private housing in the general community and around one fifth into retirement villages. This paper compares the demographic characteristics of these two groups, circumstances leading to moving, considerations made in their choice of accommodation, difficulty of the moving process and their satisfaction with the outcomes. It draws on AHURI funded research on Downsizing Amongst Older Australians published in 2014. Distinct differences are observed in the age profile and employment/retirement characteristics of the two groups and to a lesser extent in relationship status and household size. Those remaining in the general community were less likely to have previously been outright owners and much less likely to be living in multi-unit attached and apartment housing. Retirement village downsizers were more likely to cite home maintenance, illness or disability of self or partner and/or death of partner as circumstances leading to moving, but much less so retirement, children leaving home and relationship breakdown. Important considerations in housing choices of retirement village downsizers were again more likely to be low maintenance, desire for a smaller dwelling and proximity to shops, health and aged care services, whereas those remaining in the general community were more consumption orientated in their preferences. Retirement village downsizers found the moving process a little easier and more affordable. The vast majority of both groups were satisfied with their downsizing outcomes, but for those who were dissatisfied, building/village maintenance issues, dislike of cohort living and unexpected costs were more important reasons for retirement village residents than for those in the general community who were more concerned about affordability, neighbourhood/social issues, poor design, construction quality and inadequate space.

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