Homeownership Rates Are Down, But Not For Seniors

July 27, 2017

Changing work patterns, along with the benefits of time, have helped keep the homeownership rate of people age 65 and older as strong as ever.

A Gallup poll found that, while the overall U.S. homeownership rate dropped from 71 percent from 2001-09 to 63 percent in 2010-17, the rate among seniors actually increased, going up one percentage point to 82 percent.

During that same time period, the rate of seniors who are employed either full or part time increased from 9 percent to 14 percent. The 65-and-older group is the only segment to have an uptick in employment rates since 2009.

But, the biggest reason for the senior ownership rate is simply the mechanisms of homeownership. They have had enough time to pay off their mortgages and own their homes outright. If they choose to move, they could downsize and buy a smaller house with cash.

In either case, they would no longer pay substantial monthly mortgage payments, and their ability to afford a home would be less tied to receiving a regular and substantial paycheck than younger Americans' ability to afford a home is.

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