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Survey: Older Adults Struggle with Housing Costs

1 in 4 adults over age 45 say Florida is their top retirement state – but 1 in 3 struggled with the cost of housing over the past year.

NEW YORK – Nearly one in three adults over age 45 struggled to maintain housing costs over the past year, according to a new survey of more than 1,000 adults conducted by PropertyShark, a real estate website.

Homeowners with lower incomes tended to report the highest housing costs burden, but researchers found the problem across all income levels.

Among those earning $20,000 to $40,000 a year, 42% struggled with housing costs, while 27% of those earning between $40,000 and $60,000 were in the same situation. Earners in the $60,000 to $80,000, and $80,000 to $100,000 income brackets, reported burdens at 22% and 20%, respectively. And even the highest income brackets weren’t immune: Six percent of older adults earning more than $100,000 per year said they found it difficult to keep up with housing costs over the past year.

“Beyond shifting attitudes regarding retirement – with many older adults choosing to stay employed for reasons other than financial concerns – there is also a strong need for continued employment to keep up with the daily cost of life,” researchers note in the study.

More than half of those 45 and older surveyed said they plan to remain in their current home during their senior years. Three out of five have less than $100,000 saved for retirement.

Nearly one in five older adults have explored ways to monetize their homes by renting out the extra space, with younger baby boomers and older Generation Xers most open to the idea – 25% of adults planning to retire in more than five years and 16% of those planning to retire in more than 10 years. Airbnb-type platforms were considered one of their options.

Popular places for retirement

  • Florida: 24%
  • Arizona: 10%
  • Tennessee: 8%
  • South Carolina: 8%
  • California: 6%
  • Texas: 5%

By 2030, U.S. Census data shows that one in five Americans will be 65 or older. By 2035, older adults will outnumber children – the first time in recorded history.

Developers are paying attention to what this generation wants to help meet their current and future housing needs, and more than one in five would like to retire to less than 1,000 square feet.

The suburbs reign as their top preference (45%), but it’s closely trailed by rural living at 30%. City living is third at 15% and senior living communities is at 10%.

Senior living communities tend to be popular among seniors who have already retired, while only 11% of survey respondents who don’t plan to retire say they want to live in such a place, according to the survey.

Beyond location, size and preferences, however, cost is the No. 1 priority guiding housing choice, researchers found.

“Cost is, by far, the most significant factor, followed by proximity to friends and family, area amenities, the quality and proximity of health services and the climate,” researchers note.

Source: “Housing America’s Older Adults – Florida, Traveling & Roommates,” Property Shark (Aug. 22, 2019)

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