MLR

Renting vs. buying: What do older Americans do?

As Americans get older, are they more likely
to buy or rent?

older couple on porch

The answer might surprise you.

At age 50, 73 percent of Americans own their own homes. But by age 65, that number has increased to more than 81 percent, according to a new study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Nearly one-fourth of young Baby Boomers, age 49 to 58, are buying larger multi-generational houses as adult children have moved back home and they provide caretaking for aging parents.

About one-third of this age group of young Baby Boomers are single, and about one quarter own more than one home.

Older Boomers, age 59 to 67, are often on the move, with about one-fourth selling their homes to move to another region, usually to be closer to friends or family as they retire.

Many older home owners also downsize into smaller, more modern homes, avoiding property that requires renovation or heavy maintenance. More than one-fourth of this age group also owns investment or vacation property.

Members of the Silent Generation, age 68 to 88, are more often sellers than buyers as they downsize, move in with family or move into retirement living, although 18 percent buy a multigenerational home. After age 75, renting steadily increases.

Members of this generation are the most likely to pay cash for a home – 45 percent.

While more than 80 percent of Americans age 60 to 80 own their homes, that number declines to 60 percent by age 90.