Nearly three in four baby boomers aren’t using resources that would help them achieve or maintain homeownership status, according to survey data released Tuesday by nonprofit group NeighborWorks America.
About 10,000 Americans turn 65 each day and all boomers will reach that milestone by 2030, according to census data. But a significant portion of this generation remain renters and are utilizing homeownership tools less frequently than younger age groups.
NeighborWorks surveyed some 2,200 adults from Jan. 20-21 and found that 72% of baby boomers aren’t using homeownership resources. The survey found that millennial and Generation Z homeowners are up to six times more likely than boomers or Generation X to use mortgage assistance, first-time homebuyer programs or credit-building resources, among other tools.
“Whether they’re interested in homeownership or not, (baby boomers) need access to the services and programs that can help them age in place,” Marietta Rodriguez, president and CEO of NeighborWorks America, said in a news release. “How can this generational shift not have drastic implications for housing? Our homes should age with us, but what options are there for long-term renters? How do we ensure the safety and stability of this population for years to come?”
NeighborWorks outlined potential solutions for members of this age group who wish to purchase a home or stay in their current residence.
Professional housing counseling services, including those through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, have become essential for borrowers of all ages as higher interest rates and down payment requirements have eaten into affordability.
NeighborWorks reported that, across all ages, 59% of long-term renters — those who have been renters for at least seven years — believe that homeownership is likely out of reach. Among boomer respondents, 51% of long-term renters strongly agree that owning a home isn’t possible.
Even as many boomers remain in the long-term renter pool, they were also the nation’s largest demographic of homebuyers in 2022. That year, they accounted for 39% of all buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors, pushing millennials out of the top spot for the first time since 2014.
Financial coaching strategies, which are closely related to counseling services, commonly involve one-on-one meetings. Clients often focus on improving their credit scores and paying down debt.
Homeownership preservation is another pillar of NeighborWorks’ strategy. The company reportedly helped to maintain homeownership for more than 12,000 clients in fiscal year 2023. That was a 33% increase from three years earlier. Clients served in this manner received services like foreclosure mitigation counseling, refinancing, reverse mortgages or rehab loans.