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Homeownership with no mortgage is a goal for future retirees

by Lauren Brocato

Alongside travel and leisure, a recent study by Voya Financial identified homeownership as one of the most important goals that people wish to achieve by the time of their retirement, reported HousingWire. In fact, 80 percent said they wish to eventually own their home with no mortgage payments by the time they retire.

Though this is an ideal situation, the survey suggests that the hopes of respondents may be a bit optimistic. While a quarter of retired respondents still have a mortgage payment, more than 50 percent of them have a balance of $50,000 or more.

Most people think that the tax cuts and access to equity paired with paying off a mortgage will be a burden off their financial strains, but it is not a solid solution. Homes will always need to be maintained as years pass, therefore financing renovations is likely in the futures of many as well as the expense of potential, unforeseen issues. Property taxes are also a heavy burden to consider, especially because they have a tendency to rise over the years.

“There’s one huge drawback to owning property in retirement, and it’s committing yourself to a variable expense while living on a fixed income,” Maurie Backman wrote in an article for the Motley Fool. “Even if your mortgage itself is paid off by the time you enter retirement, you’ll still have property taxes to contend with. And those have a tendency to rise over time, even during periods when home values don’t follow suit.”

Backman notes that homeowners never know what to expect in owning a home, which is why residents should be wary as they fulfill their retirement goals. Because many retirees live on a fixed income, it can be difficult to predict what the financial layout will look like once you own your home. Many people need an additional source of income to put them in a place where they are able to stay put. This is why many older homeowners to take out a reverse mortgage, because it eliminates owners’ monthly mortgage payment, granting them access to cash that usually boosts their income during retirement.

But the rules around reverse mortgages were recently altered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Administration, leading to a decline. Despite the shift, that sudden drop may very well spike back up as the population of older homeowners with a desire to own their home continues to grow.

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