Over 55s housing survey

What drives housing choices for older people?

Mara Consulting conducted research into housing
needs of older residents in the Hunter region.

Image of survey question
Mara Consulting
Retirement living and housing infrastructure
Community consultation, social research and communication

Housing Consultation Case Study

How Mara used consultation and research to understand housing needs for older people


Australia's population is getting older and our needs are changing.  A population snapshot released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics,  based on the 2016 Census, shows that one in six (about 17 per cent) Australians are now aged over 65 years, up from one in seven in 2011. This trend is expected to continue.

To get a regional perspective, the estimated resident population of people aged 55+ in Newcastle local government area in 2017 was 26.8 per cent (over 41,563 people).  While in Lake Macquarie the figure is 33 per cent (65,944 people) and for the rest of the Hunter region more than 9.7 per cent (80,882 people). This trend is expected to continue.

So what does that mean for the demand for housing locally? Or more importantly, as we age what are the types of housing will we want to live in, what are the services and activities that we want to be part of and what is going to drive our housing or lifestyle choices?

What people said

Research conducted by Mara's team, highlights that people want well designed housing and outdoor spaces.  Clearly, people are willing to think differently about the spaces they use and need. Smaller homes are acceptable when access to quality shared spaces is available, even hotel-style accommodation for visiting friends and families.

I don't want to have two cars. I bought myself a bike, a shopping trolley and I'm close to public transport"

Results to date, show:

  1. Good quality design motivates housing choices
  2. Quality of life is enhanced by a sense of community
  3. Access and public transport are essential.

The online survey is still live and will continue to inform our research and over 55s housing needs. The summary report is available by contacting Dr Clare Hogue on 02 4965 4317.


Contact Tadd

Tadd Andersen

Tadd Andersen

Urban Designer, Lead Landscape Architect, Environmental Planner

02 49654317



Contact Kel


Kelly Lofberg

Kelly Lofberg

Communication & Engagement Specialist

0425 715 536