Senior housing inertia is growing with more aging in place

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Older Americans' growing propensity to stay in one place as they age may be keeping nearly 15% more homes off the market than in the past, according to Freddie Mac.

The homeownership rate for seniors 81-85 has been more than 85% in recent years, as compared to nearly 71% for generations born in or prior to 1930, Freddie's analysis of data from the publicly sponsored Health and Retirement Survey shows.

"We estimate that approximately 1.6 million more senior households are staying in place than would have been the case if they behaved like older generations of homeowners," Doug McManus, director of financial research at Freddie Mac, and Linna Zhu, a research intern for Freddie, wrote in a recent report.

"The amount of homes retained by seniors is likely to grow as both the number of seniors increases and the barriers to staying in place are reduced," they added.

Almost 1.1 million of the additional households that appear to be aging in place are 81-85. More than 300,000 are aged 76-80 and more than 200,000 are aged 68-75.

In previous generations, once consumers turned 68 their homeownership rate tended to drop by 11.6%. But more recently, the homeownership rate for consumers aged 68 or older has fallen by only 3.6%.

The homeownership rate of consumers aged 68-80 has changed less over time than the homeownership rate of consumers aged 81-85, but is still higher than it has been in the past, according to the study, "While Seniors Age in Place, Millennials Wait Longer and May Pay More for their First Homes."

Consumers aged 76-80 have had a homeownership rate of nearly 83% in recent years. For generations born in or prior to 1930, the homeownership rate was roughly 7% lower. Consumers aged 68-75 have recently had an 85% homeownership rate that is about 4% higher than previous generations.

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