Downsizing in Later Life: Myths and Realities Concerning the Movement of Older People in the Housing Market

In Australia, ‘downsizing’ has become a popular term to explain the movements of older people in the housing market. However, there is little agreement on its definition and whether it refers literally to a reduction in the size of the dwelling and/or associated land to reduce maintenance, or includes moving to reduce housing costs or relocation due to changing life style and/or locational preferences amongst pre- or post-retirees. As populations age, the preferences of older people will become a more important housing market driver, yet there exists little research on the downsizing behavior of older people or understanding of its implications for housing policy and the housing industry. Drawing on an international literature review and a number of Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute studies, this paper explores the theoretical frameworks useful in understanding ‘downsizing’,
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