Home Equity Patterns among Older American Households

Research Report

Home Equity Patterns among Older American Households


The majority of older Americans own homes they could use to help finance their retirement. However, their prospects diminished substantially after the Great Recession. Not only did home values decline, but older homeowners became increasingly indebted and leveraged. In 1998, a quarter of owner-occupied households age 65 and older had housing debt. By 2012, the share had increased to more than a third. Among those indebted, the median amount of housing debt increased 86 percent and the median loan-to-value ratio increased 42 percent. These trends paint a disturbing picture about future older Americans’ retirement security.

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