Older Aussies and housing choices

A report released on Wednesday by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) has shed light on the housing aspirations of older Australians.

The Older Australians and the Housing Gap report found housing meets the current needs of nine out of 10 older Australians. But only around 70 per cent thought their housing met their longer-term (five years or more) aspirations, so the other 30 per cent would be seeking to move.

While the number of bedrooms, building quality and dwelling type were important considerations for those aged over 55, safety and security and having somewhere that felt like home were considered the critical factors in housing for older Australians.

“The physical safety of a dwelling and control over the space in which they live are important (factors) and are associated with the desire to remain independent within their home and age in place,” the report stated.

“Continued employment and the needs of dependent children are important for a small number of older Australians in the 55–64 age category.”

The report also found that older Australians were willing to compromise on the physical aspects of their property. It found that large back gardens were less important to older Australians, but some outdoor space was still considered important.

“Aspects of location which influence aspirations include the perception of safety, social connections within the community, walkability, quality public transport, access to services and amenities and proximity to family and friends,” the report said.

The findings were based on a survey of 2400 older Australians aged over 55.

The most popular outcome of those surveyed was to live in the middle or outer suburbs of a city. It was an aspiration that increased with age.

Small regional towns were the second most chosen location for those aged between 55 and 74, while those aged 75 and over were more likely to indicate a preference for the inner suburbs of a capital city. Few older respondents aspired to live in the CBD of a capital city.

Separate dwellings were the ideal housing option for more than two-thirds of those aged over 55 with an attached dwelling the second choice.

Respondents aged over 75 were more likely to select attached dwellings or apartments than their younger cohorts, presumably as a viable downsizing option.

Three was the most popular number of bedrooms (around 50 per cent), while two bedrooms was much more popular to households aged 75 and over.

Does your home meet your current housing needs? Will it meet your housing needs in five years? Where is your ideal place to live?

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