A Note on Mortgage Free Householders Age 75+

The U. S. Census Bureau recently released the 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year estimates. These survey results include Table B25027 showing the number householders, by age, with and without a home mortgage. Nationally, the data shows that 80.3 percent of the householders age 75 and over are without a mortgage. The percentage varies by local housing market, but is still a remarkable finding and particularly interesting to the seniors housing since the survey periods cover the “Great Recession”. Nationally, four out five senior home owners age 75 and over entered the recession without a mortgage.

But there are wide variations around the nation. The percentage mortgage free drops to 61.1 percent in Clark County, Nevada (Las Vegas) and 71.8 percent in Dade County, Florida (Miami). Sacramento County, California is 71.0 percent.

Close to the National average is Travis County, Texas (Austin) at 77.7 percent and Douglas County, Iowa (Omaha) at 81.0 percent. Neither two were hit hard by the recent housing bubble.

And, then in Western Pennsylvania is Cambria County (Johnstown) at 92.0 percent – far above the national average. Johnstown is an economically depressed economy where a 130+ unit market-rate age restricted rental leased up in 90 days during 2010, in the height of the recession.

Nationally, these results suggest that in most cases, older senior householders with homes can sell, or rent, their home and move, if they are motivated by the right product at right price, even in a depressed local market. Can they get the price they want? Perhaps not. But if they are mortgage free, they are more likely to be motivated by the right product at the right price.

Looking to future, particularly for the boomers, it is clear that a mortgage free home offers substantially flexibility in housing choices.

 

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