Older Americans Feel Confident About Homebuying — and Not Downsizing

While many Americans find the homebuying process to be confusing or simply out of reach, the overwhelming majority of Americans over 60 years old — about 84% —  feel better equipped to start the process.

A recent survey from community development non-profit NeighborWorks America sought to learn more about Americans’ attitudes toward homebuying and student debt. For “America at Home 2018,” 1,000 U.S. adults 18 and over completed an online survey in August 2018. About 35% of respondents were age 60 or older.

More than 73% of individuals surveyed said they thought the homebuying process is complicated, but 84% of responders 60 and older said they knew where to look for advice —  with 79% of those over 55 first turning to a Realtor, followed by 71% who would look to family and coworkers.

The survey also inquired about downsizing. Forty-four percent of respondents 45 or older who had not already retired said they will probably or definitely downsize after retirement. Forty percent said they probably or definitely will not — and 16% were unsure of what they would do when they stopped working.

As far as attitudes regarding homeownership, 90% of respondents 60 and over feel that owning a home increases financial stability. With this statistic in mind, it’s not surprising that 60% of those over 60 said they were less likely to consider renting a home instead of buying one.

Attitudes on the affordability of homeownership also have strong regional variations. Midwest residents seemed to feel home prices were the most affordable, with 52% respondents saying the housing prices were within reach. Only 37% of residents in the West and 35% of residents in the Northeast felt the same.

“Regionally, many living in the Northeast and the West believe homeownership is out of reach, and for good reason,” according to NeighborWorks America’s release about the survey. “Median house prices track consistently lower in the Midwest ($291,000) and the South ($284,000) than for those in the Northeast ($490,000) and West ($390,000). Fewer than half of U.S. adults think houses are affordable for first-time buyers.”

As for student debt, only 6% of those 60 and older reported having liens from school, as compared with 58% for those under 30.

Written by Maggie Callahan

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