More than 1.5 million older Americans already have lost their homes, with millions more at risk as the national housing crisis takes its toll on those who are among the worst positioned to weather the storm, a new AARP report says.
"The Great Recession has been brutal for many older Americans," said Debra Whitman, AARP's policy chief. "This shows that home ownership doesn't guarantee financial security later in life."
Even working two jobs hasn't been enough to allow Jewel Lewis-Hall, 57, to make her monthly mortgage payments on time. Her husband has made little money since being laid off from his job at a farmer's market, and Lewis-Hall said her salary as a school cook falls short of what she needs to make the payments on her home in Washington.
Lewis-Hall and her husband have been making their payments late for about a year, but panic didn't set in until recently, when the word "foreclosure" showed up in a letter from the bank.
"You're used to living a certain way, but one thing leads to another," Lewis-Hall said. "It's not like I have a new car or anything. I'm driving one from 1991."
According to AARP:
About 600,000 people who are 50 years or older are in foreclosure.
About 625,000 in the same age group are at least three months behind on their mortgages.
About 3.5 million — 16 percent of older homeowners — are underwater, meaning their home values have gone down and they now owe more than their homes are worth.
AARP said that over the past five years, the proportion of loans held by older Americans that are seriously delinquent jumped by more than 450 percent.
Homeowners who are younger than 50 have a higher rate of serious delinquency than their older counterparts. But the rate is increasing at a faster pace for older Americans than for younger ones, according to AARP's analysis of more than 17 million mortgages.
Americans who are 50 or older are hard-pressed to recover from the collapse of the housing market that started in 2006 and was compounded by the recession that started in 2007. Eight in 10 own homes, but many live on fixed incomes, have little savings or have already burned through much of their retirement savings. They also have fewer working years left to build back what they may have lost.
And those who are forced to re-enter the workforce often find they can't command the same salary that they did in the past.
Older minorities are facing foreclosure rates that are almost double those faced by white borrowers of the same age, mirroring a nationwide trend seen in other age groups as well. Among older African-Americans, 3.5 percent were in foreclosure at the end of 2011, and the rate was 3.9 percent for Hispanics. Just 1.9 percent of white homeowners were in foreclosure.
The issue has become so dire in Rep. Elijah Cummings' Maryland district that he has assigned one of his 20 staffers to work full time to help struggling homeowners, and his office holds regular foreclosure prevention workshops. He said the federal government can do its part by promoting principal reduction and loan modification programs.
"These are people who in many instances have never missed a payment in 20 years," Cummings, a Democrat, said in an interview. "You see grown men crying because of the potential loss of a home."
Among older homeowners, those who are 75 or older are in the worst shape when it comes to foreclosures, the report showed. In 2007, one out of every 300 homeowners 75 or older was in foreclosure. Five years later, about one in 30 face that same fate.
Many of those oldest homeowners may have lost income they were counting on, such as the retirement benefits of a deceased spouse. In the meantime, their mortgage payments have stayed the same.
The situation is likely to get worse before it gets better, AARP officials predicted, because of a housing market that is recovering at a snail's pace.
"This crisis is far from over," Whitman said. "We need to think about more creative solutions now that we have this data."
Foreclosure Crisis Hits Older Americans Hard - US Business News - CNBC
Reuters: Business News
National Commercial Real Estate News From CoStar Group
Latest stock market news from Wall Street - CNNMoney.com
- ► 2016 (145)
- ► 2015 (146)
- ► 2014 (102)
- ► 2013 (395)
- Last days of the Borgata
- LifeLock reveals finances pre-IPO
- Home prices rose in July in 20 major US cities
- Radar Logic: Home Prices Hit Peak in July, Distres...
- 34,000 in Ariz. get mortgage aid
- Phoenix-based Vestar buys Calif. retail center for...
- Phoenix-area rental homes a red-hot commodity
- Home-related sales through the roof
- New US home sales edged down 0.3% in August
- Attorney General sets 3-year foreclosure plan for ...
- Top 10 things to know about Social Security
- Understanding Social Security benefits
- Maricopa County homeowners likely to see property-...
- Reagor: Building of homes slows a bit
- At 40, McCormick Ranch still desirable place to li...
- Fountain Hills mulls giving new life to avenue
- Peoria entertainment/hotel plan closer to reality
- Residential lot coverage debated in Arcadia
- Arizonans may not feel closure of local banks
- Proposed Scottsdale condo plan gains height, densi...
- Luxury retirement facility's sales rise
- Audit: Maricopa County housing-agency woes continu...
- Foreclosure starts fell on annual basis in August ...
- Housing prices up in most NE Valley communities
- Housing key part of SkySong's 'secret sauce'
- Valley in top 10 in US for foreign investors
- New tax on home sales is overblown rumor
- Home construction on uptick in Scottsdale
- Building set for approval - USATODAY.com
- Furnishings firm takes over ex-nightclub site
- The market: Views from the trenches
- City closer to Waterfront apartment-plan OK
- Scottsdale council approves permits for downtown b...
- Metro Phoenix a seller's (and landlord's) market
- Scottsdale home prices up 9.26 percent over a year...
- Valley bankruptcies keep plummeting
- IRS pays Swiss ex-banker, whistleblower $104 milli...
- Baby Boomers have many options for retirement plan...
- Proposed condo plan gains height, density
- Cottonwoods considers adding assisted living
- Scottsdale council approves contentious Echo at Wi...
- Phoenix-area home-price dip called a 'natural reac...
- City Planning Commission draws criticism
- US Home Prices Rise in July by Most in 6 Years - D...
- 2 large Phoenix warehouses being built
- City expands affordable housing - USATODAY.com
- Entertainment hub progresses - USATODAY.com
- City hopes Chandler site will be revitalized - USA...
- PV commission member resigns over resort redevelop...
- Top 5 lenders: $500M spent in Ariz. - USATODAY.com...
- 6,900 Scottsdale apartments in pipeline
- Home prices notch first 12-month gain since 2010 -...
- Advice for Arizonans on brink of foreclosure
- New-home sales rise to match 2-year high - CBS New...
- Beach-club complex votes on permits, licenses are ...
- US home sales rose 2.3 percent, sign of recovery
- Toll Brothers Posts Strong Growth - WSJ.com
- A challenge to finish preserve - USATODAY.com
- Valley agent did well by focusing on SHORT SALES -...
- New Mountain Shadows resort plan consolidates buil...
- ARMLS buys researcher
- Mesa senior-living complex will be based on Tempe ...
- Home prices up in 5 areas - USATODAY.com
- Newest numbers don't cast 'shadow'
- Run-up in home prices slows - USATODAY.com
- Fannie Mae posts $2.2B net gain for Q2 - Yahoo! Fi...
- Land purchase for theater expected to finalized so...
- ASU's SkySong will add residential space
- Reagor: New-home market projections promising
- 6 Phoenix-area apartment communities sold
- Fannie and Freddie principal cuts barred - USATODA...
- Phoenix expedites building process
- Plan for luxury homes at resort stirs controversy
- Mystery bidder gets 275 homes - USATODAY.com
- Meritage earnings rise - USATODAY.com
- Mesa minister gets maximum sentence in fraud
- Split up banks, says builder of Citigroup - USATOD...
- New home sales fall to 5-month low in June – USATO...
- GOP rips Geithner about LIBOR - USATODAY.com
- Historic homes at risk after they're foreclosed
- 100 more lots sold in project - USATODAY.com
- 4333 Building plan still viable, extension sought
- Census estimates: Phoenix remains sixth-largest ci...
- SIGNS OF HEALTH - USATODAY.com
- Subdivision is proposed - USATODAY.com
- Reagor: Home-listing group game for some fun
- After 6 years, Scottsdale is settling state-land c...
- Foreclosure Crisis Hits Older Americans Hard - US ...
- Government program to help avoid foreclosure
- Property-tax bills may rise in Paradise Valley sch...
- Construction, housing sectors face challenges
- ▼ September (91)
- ► 2011 (704)