Modern Australian

Empty Nesters Unable to Downsize

  • Written by Niki Clark

Eating into Super and Locking Younger Families out of the Market

Upside Realty CEO and founder, Adam Rigby, says older Australians are living in their home years longer than is suitable for them, or their stage of life, because they fear market uncertainty and the costs associated with selling.


This is one person living in an otherwise empty six-bedroom house – there are more than 100,000 underused houses in NSW and Victoria alone,” says Mr Rigby. 


The increased expenses associated with running these homes is dangerously eating into retirement funds and locking families and first-home buyers out of the market.”


The latest ABS data shows that 49 percent of Australians are living in ‘under-utilised’ dwellings – in houses with two or more empty bedrooms. A number which Mr Rigby says increased throughout the property downturn last year and has now spiked with the drop in sales volume led by the COVID-19 outbreak.


In the last month we have seen a 28.7 percent decrease in sales volume compared to 2019, a year which was already substantially down, compared to previous years.”


This stalemate has been going on for the last 18 months or more.”


Seniors keep delaying a downsize because they are unsure about the market and they know they will be slugged with a huge tax.”

Mr Rigby notes that Australia is unique in the world in terms of property transaction costs. 

The high cost of sales transactions and stamp duty urgently needs to be addressed if the government is serious about improving affordability and assisting in the nation’s economic recovery.”

In Victoria, homeowners who pay $680,000 for a home have to come up with a further $35,870 in stamp duty. In NSW, homeowners buying for the same amount have to pay $26,032 in stamp duty. In Queensland, the stamp duty on a home of the same price is $16,450.


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About Upside

Upside is Australia’s leading fixed-fee real estate company and is already disrupting the industry in seven markets across the country, including Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. Using market-leading technology, vendors work with an experienced agent to sell their home for a fixed fee of $8,900 for private treaty or $9,700 for auction.

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