Despite the challenges of 2020, the homeownership rate for households age 65+ increased by 0.6 percent in early 2021 to roughly 81 percent, according to the State of the Nation’s Housing report published by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.
Although the rate for these older adults declined slightly in 2016–2019, the aging of the Baby Boom generation meant that the number of older homeowners still grew by some 800,000 per year over that period—far exceeding the 500,000 annual increase in homeowners in all other age groups combined.
- Robust demand for housing and limited supply lifted home prices to their fastest pace in over a decade. Home prices rose 13.2 percent nationally in March 2021 and by at least ten percent in 85 of 100 large metro areas and divisions in the first quarter of 2021, up from just five markets the year prior. The largest price gains were in rapidly growing Western states, led by a 28 percent jump in Boise, ID and 22–23 percent increases in Austin, TX and Tacoma, WA; [INTERACTIVE CHART]
- The national homeownership rate stood at 65.6 percent in the first quarter of 2021, a 0.3 percentage point increase from a year earlier. Additionally, the number of homeowners rose by more than 1.3 million over this period, consistent with average annual gains from 2016 to 2019; and
- Racial and ethnic disparities in homeownership rates exist across the board. Even among households age 65 and over, the ages when homeownership rates are typically highest, the difference in black-white rates was still 20.3 percentage points (see chart below). This may indicate that black Baby Boomers—who were hit especially hard during the Great Recession—have not recovered fully from those setbacks as they reached retirement age.