elderly couple
18% of WA residents are 65 or over. Image – Canva
  • Argues this would free up housing for families
  • Suggests a $15,000 grant
  • 49% of equity for homeowners aged 75+ is in their homes

In the lead-up to the Western Australian election – which will be held this Saturday, 13 March – the Property Council of WA has suggested that the State Government should do more to facilitate matching retirees with houses better suited to their lifestyles.

Modelling undertaken shows that even helping only 5% of senior residents in WA would deliver a $178 million impact on the state budget. The same modelling shows this figure would increase to $357 million if 10% downsized.

The Property Council argues this will free up housing for families.

Almost a fifth of WA’s population is aged 65 and over, with many of these seniors having a large amount of equity in homes that no longer meet their needs.

To add more substance to this, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that retirees retain very high levels of wealth in their homes with 49% of equity for homeowners aged 75 and over.

Many seniors choose to not downsize due to barriers such as large transaction costs – most notably stamp duty.

Sandra Brewer, the Executive Director of Property Council WA, believes rightsizing helps to meet the needs of older Australians who don’t need to live in large homes but wish to remain in familiar communities.

“We know rightsizing – whether that’s to an apartment or a retirement living village – can enable older Australians to age well ‘in place’ rather than potentially move prematurely into aged care,

“Helping older West Australians to rightsize is a huge opportunity, but one that is currently hindered by the equally huge transaction costs – stamp duties, real estate agent fees, conveyancing fees and more – associated with moving house.”

Sandra Brewer, Executive Director Property Council WA

A $15,000 ‘last homeowners’ grant’ for eligible rightsizers who purchase either a new apartment or retirement living dwelling is the Property Council’s proposal.

They argue such a scheme would support construction and encourage investment in the retirement living sector. Also, it would incentivise housing mobility and from the State Government’s point-of-view would create stamp duty revenue.

“Perth lays claim to award-winning apartment buildings and nationally-recognised retirement villages. We have the housing choice. Now, we need our next government to step up with incentives that help seniors make the move.”

Sandra Brewer

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