Thursday, September 11, 2014

The rise in house prices a double edged sword leaving lots of older people with big problems

Back in the pre-recession days, a lot of people in the UK used their house a bit like a piggy bank.

The value of the property asset kept rising, as did the ease of borrowing money using it as collateral. This was too tempting for many people. Fast forward a decade and you have the same people, at the end of their working life (many wishing they were), but still paying a mortgage.

This behaviour was not limited to the UK. In the US, homeowners reaching retirement and still owing money on their houses has risen and risen. The share of Americans 65 and older with mortgage debt rose to 30% in 2011, from 22% in 2001, with increased loan balances ( the median amount owed almost doubling, to $79,000 from $43,400, after adjusting for inflation).

If you are a 30-something marketer reading this you might think  - "don't look to me for sympathy" - and right that you think that. However, it is likely that what is happening to this older group of mortgage debt holders will become the norm for younger people who are delaying the time when they take on mortgage debt.

Most importantly, this is another element of evidence that shows the financial hardship (this equals the spending constraints) that will face a sizeable number of older people. That is what is important and something all ages of marketer need to understand. Dick Stroud

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