Survey: Older Adults Struggle with Housing Costs at All Income Levels

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Nearly 1 in 3 adults over the age of 45 have struggled to keep up with housing costs over the last 12 months. While these costs predictably hit those with lower incomes harder, the issue is present across all income levels and retirement timelines. This is according to a new survey conducted by real estate market observer

For those earning anywhere between $20,000 to $40,000 annually, 42% of these respondents reported struggling with their housing costs. That figure drops to 27% for those earning between $40,000 and $60,000 per year, but even relatively higher incomes between $80,000 an $100,000 per year still see 20% of respondents report housing cost struggles.

The highest income bracket for older adults, those earning over $100,000 a year, still sees 6% of respondents reporting struggles with housing costs, emphasizing a degree of universality to financial issues related to housing for older Americans.

The reports of housing cost struggles are also present when looking at respondents who report different prospective timelines for their retirements.

“The most financially stable category seems to be those looking to retire within 5 years; just 23% of this group reported housing cost burdens,” writes Eliza Theiss, PropertyShark’s senior writer on real estate trends in the U.S. “Respondents looking to retire in 5 to 10 years, as well as those planning to retire in more than 10 years, noted similar rates […]. Those who have already retired experience housing cost burdens at a rate of 28%, as compared to a worrisome 44% of those respondents who don’t plan on ever fully retiring.”

What these findings suggest is that outside of shifting attitudes for older adults related to work, many older Americans find a strong need for continued work to keep up with the costs associated with daily life, Theiss says.

Additionally, many older Americans are not aware of government-sponsored assistance programs in the realm of senior housing, with only 14% of respondents relating that they are “somewhat familiar” with these programs, Theiss writes.

Other findings from the survey results include that over 50% of respondents desire to remain in their current homes for their senior years, but as many as 1 in 3 don’t ever plan to retire. 3 out of 5 respondents have less than $100,000 saved for retirement, and only 4% have at least $1 million saved.

See the full survey results at PropertyShark.