The Equity Paradox Facing Senior Homeowners

Lisa Mailhot  |  April 25, 2024


The Equity Paradox Facing Senior Homeowners


Older homeowners like Susan Apel and Keith Irwin paid off mortgages expecting home equity would allow downsizing but are struggling to find affordable, suitable one-floor options despite having substantial equity.

Their situation highlights concerns that homeownership may no longer provide the expected retirement cushion for some seniors as mortgage debt rises and accessing equity through reverse mortgages becomes costlier and more complex.

The lack of appropriate housing supply for aging exacerbates the issue, with developers favoring multi-level properties over single-floor homes, leaving many seniors trapped in increasingly difficult-to-maintain houses.

While still a valuable asset, policymakers, and the housing industry must address older homeowners' challenges through streamlined reverse mortgage programs, broadened lending criteria, and incentives for developing age-friendly housing to alleviate this growing crisis.

Recognizing and accommodating older homeowners' unique needs through a more inclusive, supportive housing market is crucial to ensure they can age gracefully in suitable living environments.

Bottom Line

If you or someone you know is considering downsizing or exploring housing options in Orange County, let's connect. I'd be delighted to assist you in navigating the local market and finding the perfect solution for your evolving needs.



Reference: “Older homeowners wonder: Is it ‘aging in place’ or simply stuck?” by Paula Span | The New York Times. Published on April 24, 2024.


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