Households in their 80s will be the fastest-growing age group over the next two decades, according to a recent study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

The study also found an increase in the number of cost-burdened older Americans – ones forced to spend more than 30% of their income on housing.

“Within the next decade, some 18 million adults will be in their 80s – many living alone and on limited incomes,” according to the report. “The need for affordable, accessible housing and in-home supportive services is therefore set to soar.”

The number of cost-burdened households age 65 and over rose by more than 200,000 between 2016 and 2017 to a new high of nearly 10 million. Of those, about 5 million were severely burdened, which means they spend more than half of their incomes on housing. Of this group, about 54% are cost-burdened renters and 26% are cost-burdened homeowners.

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Since the homeownership rate is higher for older Americans, the number of cost-burdened homeowners totaled 6.3 million compared to 3.6 million cost-burdened renters.

“While many households now of retirement age have the means to age in place or move to other suitable housing, a record number are cost-burdened and will have few affordable housing options as they age,” the report says. “In addition, many older renters are less well-positioned than homeowners because they have lower cash savings and wealth. Providing the types of housing and neighborhoods needed by an aging population depends on concerted action by both the public and private sectors. Commitments to create age-friendly communities and the recent funding of affordable housing construction for older adults are promising starts.”

Source: HousingWire (10/17/19) Smith, Maleesa

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