CHICAGO (Reuters) – American houses are displaying their age – not the homes, however the individuals dwelling in them.
Elderly individuals sit on a park bench after solar set in Encinitas, California, U.S., July 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
In 2016, about 55 % of U.S. households (or about 65 million households) have been headed by somebody aged 50 or older, in accordance to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (JCHS). That is the very best proportion because the middle started maintaining data in 1960 and certain a historic first for the United States.
In years to come, the housing image will grow to be much more grey as child boomers head into their seventies and eighties.
Many will want accessible housing that may accommodate disabilities and mobility challenges – far past what could be met by present provide. Perhaps probably the most hanging facet of this report is that the most important challenges can be confronted by individuals now of their fifties, as a result of they’ll enter retirement with decrease revenue and wealth than the present era of seniors. This group will face a housing crunch marked by a scarcity of age-appropriate housing that they will afford to personal or lease.
“We need to address gaps in the affordability and accessibility of our housing stock,” stated Jennifer Molinsky, lead writer of the report. “As the number of households in their 80s grows, it will be essential that we strengthen the links between housing, healthcare, and other services.”
Are we ready to meet these challenges? Not even shut.
The report notes that the variety of households aged 80 and above jumped 71 % from 1990 to 2016, to 7.5 million. But with the ageing of the infant boomers, the variety of households on this age group will greater than double by 2037. “This is a group that tends to need more services and accessibility features,” Molinsky stated. “Do we have enough accessible housing, and enough services that can be brought into homes? The short answer is – no.”
The JCHS report tells a story of two teams of older Americans: those that are retired now, and people who will retire sooner or later. In households headed by retired individuals, revenue has grown considerably in recent times. For instance, median annual revenue rose 9.6 % from 2011 to 2016 for households aged 65-79 (to $44,100). During the identical interval, revenue positive aspects for working-age households of their 50s to mid-60s rose simply 2.6 % to a median of $66,500 – a quantity that in actual phrases continues to be behind the place it was in 2010 in the course of the depths of the Great Recession.
Home possession charges amongst youthful households have fallen sharply because the Great Recession, JCHS studies. A big majority of older households (79 %) aged 65 and over owned their houses in 2017. But the possession price for youthful households headed towards retirement has declined steadily since 2004, and particularly because the Great Recession. For instance, amongst households aged 50-64, some 74 % owned a house in 2017, off sharply from 79 % in 2007.
This development is worrisome for a number of causes. First, it signifies that fewer of those youthful households are collaborating within the wealth-building sometimes related to residence possession. And fewer might be in a position to faucet residence fairness as a backstop in retirement to fund giant bills such as long-term care. Finally, it means extra individuals shall be uncovered to the volatility of rental charges.
The JCHS report notes that a rising variety of older Americans are “cost-burdened” when it comes to housing, which means they’re spending greater than 30 % of revenue on housing. In 2016, 9.7 million households have been cost-burdened, and one other four.9 million have been “severely burdened,” which means they paid at the least half of their revenue for housing.
Homelessness amongst older adults is rising. Research on this space is restricted, however knowledge from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) factors to a 48 % improve in “sheltered homelessness” amongst adults aged 62 or older from 2007 to 2017. (The time period “sheltered” refers to individuals staying in emergency shelters or transitional housing packages.) And the JCHS report notes that homelessness in New York City amongst adults aged 65 and above almost doubled from 2011 to 2015.
Meanwhile, federal funding for housing that’s reasonably priced for low-income households all however disappeared throughout this decade. Congress allotted $5 million in fiscal 2017 for the HUD Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program, which focuses on offering housing to very low revenue seniors – the primary funding since fiscal 2011. Congress offered $105 million in fiscal 2018. Meanwhile, JCHS notes that many older adults stay in low-density areas and in single-family houses, and may develop into remoted once they cease driving; it will create pressures within the years forward on communities to present new housing and transportation choices.
“We’ve seen all these things coming but the numbers are staggering,” stated Linda Couch, vice chairman of housing coverage at LeadingAge, an affiliation that represents aging-services businesses. “We have a major issue here with people in their fifties and sixties – they will have a hard time affording not only housing but healthcare,” she stated. “And they will be 70 and 80 before we know it.”
(The opinions expressed listed here are these of the writer, a columnist for Reuters.)
Reporting and writing by Mark Miller in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis