Baby Boomers Turn to Home Sales to Unlock Housing Wealth

Faced with empty nests, an improving housing market and retirement looming on the horizon, Baby Boomers are increasingly looking toward their homes to unlock wealth, but it doesn’t appear that reverse mortgages are a consideration just yet.

Home sales data and other anecdotal evidence are suggesting that more Boomers are selling their houses this year in efforts to unlock the equity they’ve regained since the housing downturn, according to a recent article from The Wall Street Journal.

The median age of home sellers has been on the rise since 2009, increasing from age 46 to 54, in what could be an indication that older homeowners who may have been waiting for a housing market recovery are now beginning to list their properties, according to data from the National Association of Realtors cited by WSJ.

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As Boomers put for-sale signs in their yards, this not only has implications for the greater housing market, but for their retirements as well.

“Although investors have been told for years not to think of their primary homes as investments, having a healthy chunk of home equity can make a big difference when it comes to planning retirement finances,” writes WSJ.

Liquidating real estate assets can be a viable solution if retirement savings present the risk of a shortfall, said Christine Benz, director of personal finance at Morningstar, Inc., in the article.

“That’s more palatable than hearing you need to keep working until you’re 72,” she said.

Even so, while the article makes repeated references to the viability of unlocking housing wealth through home sales, and the potential retirement benefits that can be reaped as a result, it does not mention the prospect of potentially using a reverse mortgage to accomplish this same purpose.

Read The Wall Street Journal article.

Written by Jason Oliva