Even at 95, Americans Are Hanging on to Their Homes

By far, owning is the most common housing arrangement for older Americans, with more than 8 in 10 people aged 65 and over reporting that they live in houses they own. 

The data comes from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, which finds that by and large, older Americans—even those well into their 90s—are living in their own homes and are staying there as long as possible. 

While there has been a belief that people begin to draw down on their home equity once retirement starts, EBRI finds that many people actually don’t begin drawing down until later. 

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“Economic theory suggests that household wealth should decline after retirement. But evidence suggests that household wealth does not start to decline until people reach very advanced ages and that similar trends apply to housing wealth as well,” EBRI writes. 

There are several reasons people do leave their homes, with the loss of a spouse being the No. 1 reason, EBRI finds. 

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“The transition rate from home ownership to renting is 3 percent at age 50, bottoming out at 1.6 percent at age 65. However, these transition rates soar after the age of 85, reaching a peak of 4.7 percent at age 90,” EBRI writes. 

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Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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