Foreclosure Crisis Hits Older Americans Hard

Article excerpt

More than 1.5 million older Americans already have lost their homes, with millions more at risk as the national housing crisis takes its toll on those who are among the worst positioned to weather the storm, a new AARP report says.

Older African Americans and Hispanics are the hardest hit.

"The Great Recession has been brutal for many older Americans," said Debra Whitman, AARP's policy chief. "This shows that home ownership doesn't guarantee financial security later in life."

According to AARP:

- About 600,000 people who are 50 years or older are in foreclosure.

- About 625,000 in the same age group are at least three months behind on their mortgages.

- About 3.5 million - 16 percent of older homeowners - are underwater, meaning their home values have gone down and they now owe more than their homes are worth.

AARP said that over the past five years, the proportion of loans held by older Americans that are seriously delinquent jumped by more than 450 percent.

Homeowners who are younger than 50 have a higher rate of serious delinquency than their older counterparts. But the rate is increasing at a faster pace for older Americans than for younger ones, according to AARP's analysis of more than 17 million mortgages. …