According to a new housing index, 18 suburbs, including Riverhills, emerged as the least “downsizeable” Brisbane suburbs. The report was released as the Council’s ongoing public consultation on the proposal to ban townhouses in single-home areas is set to wrap up in 26 August 2019.

The DORIS Index or “Downsizer Opportunity to Remain in Suburb” by Place Design Group, ranks Brisbane suburbs according to how easy or difficult it is to downsize into. 

The housing index underscores downsizing as “an important piece of the housing market puzzle” and why people, especially the ageing population, should have the option to live “in their residence of choice, for as long as they are able to, as they age,”  or what it referred to as “aging in place.”

By measuring the number of new non-single house development approvals and the population of people aged 55-64 in each suburb, the analysis brings to light the possible challenges that the ageing population would face in finding age-specific housing to move into that is in the same suburb or somewhere closer to where they live in.

“DORIS was presented as an accurate representation of a typical +55 year old who in hindsight realises she didn’t do herself any favours all those years ago, when she joined the campaign against townhouses and low-medium density development in the inner city suburb that she’s lived in her whole life,” Analyst Chris Isles of Place Design Group said.

Last 3 years average of building approvals for non-detached houses, from 0 (lightest green) to 685 (darkest green) | Photo Credit: Place Group Design/placedesigngroup.com
Proportion of households in each suburb that are 55-64 years old, from 0% (Yellow) to 25% (Red) | Photo Credit: Place Group Design/placedesigngroup.com
The Doris Index – Suburb ranking, with 1 (lightest red) being the easiest to downsize and 8 (darkest red) the hardest | Photo Credit: Place Group Design/placedesigngroup.com

The 18 Most “Downsizeable” Brisbane Suburbs according to the Place Design Group’s DORIS Index:

  1. South Brisbane
  2. Fortitude Valley
  3. Woolloongabba
  4. West End
  5. Kangaroo Point
  6. Newstead
  7. Cannon Hill
  8. Greenslopes
  9. Upper Mount Gravatt
  10. Brisbane City
  11. Albion
  12. Ascot
  13. Toowong
  14. Nundah
  15. Chermside
  16. Sherwood
  17. Windsor
  18. Bulimba

The 18 Least “Downsizeable” Brisbane Suburbs according to the Place Design Group’s DORIS Index:

  1. Wishart
  2. Ferny Grove
  3. Bellbowrie – Moggill
  4. Belmont – Gumdale
  5. Middle Park – Jamboree Heights
  6. Jindalee – Mount Ommaney
  7. Mansfield
  8. Chelmer – Graceville
  9. Bald Hills
  10. Wakerley
  11. Westlake
  12. Pullenvale
  13. Tarragindi
  14. Riverhills
  15. Deagon
  16. Fig Tree Pocket
  17. Geebung
  18. Robertson

Recent findings of Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) on the housing aspirations of older Australians over the age of 55, stated that the demand for attached dwellings, such as terraces and townhouses, increases with age whilst preference for detached houses decreases as people get older.

“Older Australians aspire to live in a variety of different locations, with the most popular choices being the middle to outer suburbs of capital cities (around 35%) and small regional towns (around 20%). Generally, they would like to own a detached dwelling (69%) with three bedrooms (50%) although there is an appetite for two-bedroom apartments, particularly in the 75+ age group,” the AHURI report said.

The research said that there is an unmet demand for smaller dwellings and that current patterns of housing supply focus on large separate dwellings and too many apartments but not enough mid-sized product.

Photo Credit: Brisbane City Council / Facebook

The DORIS Index report suggests policy makers to undertake a targeted review of the suburbs named as having low downsizeability, as well as review the amount of land that are appropriately zoned for the delivery of missing middle typologies — a compromise between larger, single detached homes and higher density apartments.

“There needs to be a way to deliver the “gentle” density which could be a mix of sporadic smaller lots, single unit dwellings, granny flats, or dual occupancies,” the  DORIS Index report said.

“These dwellings need to be designed with older Australians in mind, which includes being easily adaptable when required,” the AHURI report said.