Homeownership Rate Declining For Everyone Except Older Americans

August 4, 2017 | by Michael Wilt

Categories: Homeownership

In 2009, the U.S. homeownership rate stood at 71%. Since then, it has fallen to 63% with declines spanning every region of the country and including almost every age demographic according to a recent Gallup report.

For example, the homeownership rate for Americans age 18-29 years is down from 36% to 26%.  For Americans age 30-49 years, it is down from 73% to 63%, and for Americans age 50-64 years, it is down from 84% to 77%.  

But there is one exception to the trend. The only demographic that saw an increase in homeownership is Americans age 65 or older (up from 81% to 82%).

So, why have older Americans fared well when it comes to homeownership? The Gallup report lists several reasons. First, many older Americans don't have substantial mortgage payments. Either they have already paid off their house, or they downsized into a smaller, less expensive home and paid cash for it.

Moreover, more older Americans are postponing retirement and remaining employed. It's the only age demographic where the rate of employment increased from 2009 to 2017. More seniors working means more of them have the ability to continue making mortgage payments.

Lastly, seniors are better off financially. In 2009, 46% of seniors lived in lower-income households. Now, only 33% do, which indicates more older Americans have the income required to own or maintain a home.

For other demographic groups, financial reasons are primarily responsible for the decline in homeownership, and the largest financial obstacle for many Americans is the down payment.

Getting Over the Down Payment Hurdle

If the down payment is keeping you from buying a home, we encourage you to check out TSAHC’s down payment assistance options. TSAHC provides grants of up to 5% of the mortgage amount to help with your down payment and closing costs. You don’t have to be a first-time buyer to use TSAHC's down payment assistance, but first-time buyers can also apply for a special tax credit called a Mortgage Credit Certificate. Click here to see if you are eligible.

On the House blog posts are meant to provide general information on various housing-related issues, research and programs. We are not liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided by blog sources. Furthermore, this blog is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.


Laura Ross

Hi Sherri, a housing counselor can help you communicate with your lender and discuss your options.  You can find one on the Texas Financial Toolbox (http://www.texasfinancialtoolbox.com) or the HUD website (https://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm).

Sherri L King

I would like to know more information about homeowners that have had to loose their homes, because the home became inhabital, and the homes were demolished.

What support can Lenders provide, or recommend in helping them rebuild?

Leave a Comment