Most American seniors do not intend to sell their homes and have no plans to move, a survey by the American Advisors Group (AAG) found. It’s disturbing news for a housing market already struggling with a supply shortage.
AAG, a reverse mortgage company, conducted a survey of 1,500 seniors on their plans for their homes. Eighty-two percent of seniors said they would live in their homes for the rest of their lives if they could.
“Our studies have shown that seniors in this country have a strong attachment to their home, and the pandemic only strengthened that bond,” said AAG Chief Marketing Officer Martin Lenoir.
“It’s no secret that many seniors have built substantial equity in their homes after years of ownership, but what is interesting is that very few want to sell their house to obtain that money. For seniors, the comfort, safety and independence of their home outweigh the desire to move, and that’s why we’re seeing so many older Americans interested in reverse mortgages.”
Nearly all seniors surveyed, 92%, said they would prefer to live their later years in their current home instead of an assisted living facility. Four in five respondents said they feel safer at home than anywhere else, and half say the pandemic made their desire to live at home stronger.
And as another AAG survey found earlier this year, seniors are planning to stay in the workforce longer, too. Nearly half of seniors (46%) said they plan on working part time or picking up a side job during their retirement. Nearly one in five seniors (18%) said they plan to work past the age of 70, and an additional 12% said they do not intend to ever stop working full time.
This adds to an existing trend of homeowners staying in their houses longer than in the past. A 2019 Redfin report found people are remaining in their homes typically 13 years, five years longer than they did in 2010.
“If people aren’t moving on, there just are fewer and fewer homes available for new home buyers,” Daryl Fairweather, Redfin’s chief economist, said at the time. The longer older homeowners stay on the job and in their homes, the more they force younger workers and would-be homebuyers to compete with them.
So why are seniors staying? Sentimental attachment contributed strongly to their responses. Of the seniors surveyed, 62% said they feel an emotional attachment to their home, and 56% said their home reminds them of their family. Two in three said they have communicated their wishes to their families.