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Yuppies and Dinks give way to Norcs

Before you get the wrong idea this is a family blog and NORCS are “Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities”. Real estate commentators love a good acronym. Our markets are often driven by changing demographics in a neighbourhood so it’s not surprising that the mix of ages, family types and incomes in local households are closely watched.

We pinched the NORC term from an American Realtor but it’s a good summary of what’s happening in a lot of Brisbane’s inner suburbs. These are the residents whose families have long ago moved on, their houses are too big for them with lots of spare bedrooms, their yards hard work to maintain. But they know their patch, their shops, neighbours, doctors, cafes, and they’re not going anywhere in a hurry. Analysts say they’re ‘aging in place’ and Brisbane’s Michael Matusik has written consistently about the overestimating governments make when they just assume these residents will chuff off to a village or townhouse somewhere.

In some inner-Brisbane streets there’s a big percentage of residents over 70 years of age. Norcs are very common. When we ask people “what do you like about your neighbourhood?” we often hear that it’s the mix of ages and backgrounds and the diversity. I grew up in a street with elderly neighbours. They used to babysit me while I ate their home-baked goodies. I caught their chooks for them so they could lop off the heads and roast us dinner!

But the challenges created by residents aging in place, in homes that aren’t designed for the needs of elderly residents, aren’t just limited to the residents themselves. It can create plenty of stress for their families and those who provide services to them.

As real estate agents we encourage everyone to move home regularly! But the truth is that many of us will buy a family home, raise, love then kick out the kids, and still be there many, many years later. How we provide our senior residents with support and services in these Norcs is a topic that needs more discussion.

And if you need a hand with chook-catching I’m your man!