Centre for Research Evaluation and Social Assessment.

Finding the Best Fit: Housing, Downsizing and Older People in a Changing Society

This three year research programme focuses on the practicalities and implications of housing downsizing for people in mid-life and in retirement.

We know very little about the practicalities of different forms of housing and housing equity downsizing in New Zealand. Yet older people and their families are already making complex decisions about ageing in place or downsizing, largely unguided about how to assess the net financial and social benefits to them. There is limited and often confusing information about downsizing options.

Some questions that the research will address are:

  • What does the term ‘downsizing’ mean to people and what are their expectations of downsizing?
  • What are the costs and risks of downsizing?
  • What are the benefits of downsizing?
  • Is downsizing a practical way to maintain standard of living, supplement retirement income and optimise independence?
  • What about downsizing for people living in rental accommodation?
  • Is downsizing harder or easier in different locations?
  • What information do people need to make better decisions around their housing needs and housing assets?

For more information see the programme website 

Publications in this project


Strengthening the Financial Well-being of Older Adults

Downsizing and the Housing Stock - Realities for Older People

Realising Housing Equity for Older Home Owners: Myths, realities, practicalities` Laurence Murphy, Kay Saville-Smith, Michael Rehm, & Bev James paper presented to Australasian Housing Researchers Conference, Melbourne, February 2017.

Making Good Housing Choices: Information Needs and Access - presentation Dr Bev James to the Conference of NZ Association of Gerontology 15-17 Sept 2016