Economy and Business
Fri July 20, 2012
Older Americans Hit Hard by Foreclosures
A new study by AARP finds that older Americans have been hit hard by foreclosure. While the delinquency rate for people under 50 is still higher than those over 50 years old, AARP's analysis of foreclosures from 2007 to 2011 found that the serious delinquency rate on mortgages grew the fastest for people older than 50.
56-year-old Stacey Ennis has been in her home in Sun Prairie for 20 years. She's now facing foreclosure. "I have nothing," she says. "I've cashed in my IRA's, I sold a lot of personal things of value, when I first heard about the fact that my house was in foreclosure I paid off my car so that I would have a place to live."
Ennis says she been fighting for around four years to modify her loan after she says she mistakenly refinanced to an adjustable rate mortgage. Her payment ultimately doubled. She says she will likely move in with her daughter, and hopes not to live in her car.
Bethany Sanchez is Director of the Fair Lending Program with Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council. She says Ennis's story is familiar.
"We have seen a lot of seniors struggle to make their payments and to avoid foreclosure and many, indeed, have lost their homes because of what has gone on. What we saw even moreso at the beginning of the crisis was a high percentage of seniors who ended up refinancing their existing, appropriately-priced mortgages into what turned out to be predatory loans."
Nationwide, AARP found that over 1.5 million older Americans have already lost their homes to foreclosure. And 3.5 million, or 16 percent of older homeowners, owe more on their homes today than they are currently worth.