August 21, 2013 by Craig Pontey
Have you ever found yourself thinking about downsizing from your current home?
Is your current home too big, or in need of renovation and have you found yourself having this sort of conversation with your family and friends of late? However you like the area where you live, you have many friends and connections with the area, you feel comfortable but still feel a change is necessary and in some ways you might also be looking for greater financial flexibility.
Recently I bumped into a client and his story reminded me how common a part of the real estate market downsizing has become, in particular in well-established areas like Sydney’s east. As soon as we started chatting I soon recalled how my client had moved to an apartment, and that it was less than a few blocks from the family home that his wife and he had sold. With their kids gone from home, but still living in the area the move had proved to be a positive and they had retained their community ties.
But it’s also I was reminded a big move and so I started to think that in talking to potential downsize clients the question will frequently be where to start and while having ample time to plan your move is ideal this is not always possible.
You’re (We’re) Not Alone
The trend of moving locally has not received a lot of attention until recently, the conversation has tended to be more about a sea or tree change, and while these are still popular options, staying local is really a strong trend.
In the last 2011 Census for example the community profile for Woollahra council area shows that 10.3% of moves were local, that’s some 5357 moves, while in the City of Sydney the figure was 10.7% and in North Sydney 9.7%. So if you’re thinking of moving locally, many others are also and that includes my family.
Because only a few years ago this is exactly the position I found myself in, the children were now young adults keen to make their own way, and the up-keep of our home was taking up more and more time. The weekend went in a flash and that’s a feeling I am sure I share in common with may people.
My first step was to think about downsizing as a local change and while I accept that working in real estate made me very aware of market conditions, it also tends to encourage a little bit of complacency. So watching market activity I started to think about downsizing as more a local change and as I mentioned earlier like a sort of like a sea change or a tree change but staying close to ‘home’ and the neighbourhood my family and I knew so well.
Soon the entire family came on board, they became my cheer squad and the search was on and we have now been in our new apartment for 2 years, we did downsize but we kept our community and business ties.
There is also another side of why people look to downsize and this happens as retirement or semi-retirement has to be planned for. Years ago some of the very traditional plans might have included a move to the coast, a move to the Gold Coast was very popular for decades, but now in many markets the appeal of staying local is helping to change the market. What I have seen happening over the past five years is more demand for new apartments across many areas of the eastern suburbs. And while some clients have been attracted to a move into the Sydney CBD, others are looking to stay local.
The city can be a great place to live but one advantage of many areas in the east is that you still get very easy access to what the city has to offer but without the hustle and bustle. There are many possible locations to downsize locally and the demand is constant for quality well-sized new and existing apartments close to transport, shops and local cafes. This trend is also creating village hubs around several areas like Double Bay, Rose Bay, Bellevue Hill and Rushcutters Bay.
So if you are thinking about downsizing and like the idea of a local change you should consider how popular and easy such a move can be. Take a look around your local area and I am sure you will discover many a well-connected location surrounded by the best the area has to offer.
With one of my very experienced clients and my team at Ray White Double Bay we are now planning some information events in November to explore how easy it can be to downsize with a local change and as the event takes shape I will publish more details here.