For the first time, the nation received evidence through an AARP report of how the real estate crash is affecting its senior citizens. While older homeowners still have lower foreclosure and mortgage delinquency rates than people under the age of 50, they are increasing.
AARP’s findings include:
Traditionally, homeownership has been a safety net in retirement. Equity that built up over decades could be tapped for medical bills. Also, for supplement fixed incomes or help transition into an assisted living facility. But older Americans weren’t immune to the real estate boom and bust. They took out second mortgages when property values skyrocketed. Then, they sold their homes for hefty prices and purchased investment properties that floundered. As of December 2011, about 3.5 million loans of people age 50 and older nationwide were underwater, meaning they have no equity. About 600,000 loans in the same age group were in foreclosure. AARP plans to release mortgage data specific to Florida by the end of the year. It will likely reflect the increasing foreclosure and delinquency rates seen in the national measure.
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