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Older homebuyers tapping savings for down payments

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More and more of the nation's older homebuyers are using savings to put money down on new homes. In 2007, 92% of Americans 55 or older who bought a home used money from a the sale of a previous home for the down payment on a new mortgage. In 2009, however, only 55% were able to take the same route when buying a home, according to a joint study conducted by the Housing Council of the National Association of Home Builders and the MetLife Mature Market Institute. The organizations said previous studies showed most homebuyers in that age range depended on proceeds from a home sale to finance a new purchase. The "Housing Trends Update for the 55+ Market" study explores recently released housing data from the Census Bureau's 2009 American Housing Survey on the 55-plus demographic. Survey respondents reported the main reason they move is to be closer to friends or relatives. The  design and look of the building where they were moving came in second. A recent Fannie Mae survey showed that the demographics of home owners are changing, as the homeownership rate among young adults decreased 11% from January to December. The survey also showed people between the ages of 65 to 74 are 3.5 times more likely to own a home than a person under 25. The MetLife/NAHB data confirmed the GSE claim, as it showed the homeownership rate among 55-plus adults has remained stable. According to the study, more than two-thirds of 55-plus households own a single-family residence, which is well above the rate of younger households. Additionally, 9% of the same demographic own a multifamily property. Write to Christine Ricciardi. Follow her on Twitter @HWnewbieCR.

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