The Value of Home Equity for Retirement

The Value of Home Equity for Retirement

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According to recent studies done by the Urban Institute and CNBC, home ownership and equity can be a huge help towards funding retirement.

According to the Urban Institute, older home owners who leverage the equity in their home may be better off in funding their retirement. However, the recession may have hampered many retirees’ abilities to do so.

“Not only does a house meet the basic needs of shelter, but it’s an asset that typically can be used to build wealth as home owners pay down their mortgages,” the study’s authors note. “In fact, many retirement security experts argue that the conventional three-legged stool of retirement resources—Social Security, pensions and savings—is incomplete because it ignores the home.”

Before the recession, home owners aged 65 or older could have used their home’s equity to increase their retirement income by over 50 percent – up to $60,000 –either by borrowing a home equity line of credit, selling their home at a profit, or taking a cash-out refinance or second mortgage. However, the Urban Institute’s study notes that percentage fell to 50 percent – up to $49,000 – by 2012, even though retirees accumulated an average 10 percent more equity than in 1998. Home owner’s equity grew from $117,000 to $166,000 between 2000 and 2006 before falling to $129,000 by 2012.

CNBC also found that those who will be renting are facing severe cost pressure in many markets — a pressure that does not confront homeowners with fixed-rate mortgages. The decade from 2004 to 2014 saw one of the highest rates of renter growth in history, the Harvard center found, and boomers played a big part. Households age 55 and older accounted for 42 percent of household renter growth during that period, even though they accounted for just 25 percent of 2014 renters.



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