Housing Crunch Coming for Older Americans

baby boomers looking to get more out of retirement_3511_800493667_0_0_7036892_300By 2050, the population of Americans 65 and older will more than double and is expected to grow at a faster rate than any other age group, according to U.S. Census data. By that time, one in five Americans will be over the age of 65, and a new report says that growing population will likely face increasing difficulty in finding suitable housing to meet their needs.

The report from the Center for Housing Policy (“Housing an Aging Population — Are We Prepared?”) warns a severe housing cost burden is looming for the country as the older adult population soars.

Older adults are more likely than younger adults to spend more than half their income on housing, the study found. Home owners who are 65 and older are more likely than younger households to have their mortgages paid off, but other housing-related costs continue to bite into their more limited incomes. Property taxes, home maintenance, and utility costs continue to be a burden to even mortgage-free home owners, the study says.

“As the older population grows, meeting the housing needs of older adults is certain to become a significant challenge across the nation,” says Rodney Harrell, a policy adviser at AARP’s Public Policy Institute. “States and communities need to effectively respond by adopting policies that ensure adequate, affordable housing for people of all ages.”

The report calls for a variety of housing to meet the needs of older adults, including a growth in assisted-living residences, continuing care retirement communities, and congregate housing. The authors also urge for the availability of housing grants and loans to assist with modifying a current home so older adults can age-in-place as well as property tax abatement or housing voucher programs to help alleviate housing costs.

Source: “Growing Ranks of Older Adults Face Housing Crunch,” RISMedia (April 8, 2012)

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