As all of the housing forces come together, rather strange results surface from time to time. The newest is relatively unprecedented, with Americans of retirement-age taking out long-term mortgages.
To read an interesting article about never being too old for a mortgage, CLICK HERE.
It wasn’t so long ago that Americans would work to pay off their homes, sell them, and use the equity to downsize and buy a small home all-cash, with the remainder serving as the nest egg. Yet with equity levels taking such a hit over the last few years, homeowners have been forced to rethink the way they navigate their retirement.
Interestingly, age is a protected category within the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, a federal credit law that bars credit discrimination based on race, color, relation, sex, etc. With that said, as of late mortgages have gone out to borrowers nearing up to 100 years old, and everybody in between.
In order to qualify for a mortgage, borrowers must demonstrate they have income rolling in. This can include retirement income, social security, etc. While previously such income would never help borrowers to qualify for anything, today’s low values and low rates are allowing retirement-age borrowers to get in the game.
There are some unique issues that seniors must take into consideration. For starters, loan approval is based on current income levels, which in the case of retirement income could change after the death of a spouse. If this happens, the loan stays but the payment may prove to no longer be manageable.
In a perfect world, Americans would reach retirement age with enough money to own a home free-and-clear, and enough left over for all the bus trips to Graceland they desire. While this is sadly not the case at present, at least the housing industry does provide a few options that can add some flexibility to their future.