Foreclosure Nightmare for Seniors

On July 23, 2012, Beth Shay, SeniorLAW Center’s Homeowner’s Assistance Coordinator, and staff attorney, Joanna Jarzebowska, attended the AARP Solutions Forum: The Foreclosure Crisis, Ending the Nightmare for Older Americans  in Washington, DC. and met with staff members for Pennsylvania Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey to discuss our work on behalf of seniors throughout Pennsylvania.  Some interesting national facts from the seminar:        

1.       80% of Americans age 50+ own their home. 

2.       1.5 mil Americans age 50+ have lost their homes due to mortgage foreclosure since 2007 and 3.5 mil borrowers age 50+ have no equity in their home. 

3.       6% of mortgages held by borrowers age 50+ are at least 90 days delinquent as of December 2011 and 2.9 % are in foreclosure. 

4.       In the 50+ age bracket, the largest increase in mortgage debt is held by persons 75+ due historically low interest rates and high house values prior to the market’s collapse. 

5.       In the years between 2007 and 2010, households headed by persons  age 75+ experienced a drop of 5.4% in before tax income.  During this same period, this age group saw a 16.3% increase in mortgage charges, a 4.9%   increase in real estate taxes, a 5.2% increase in utilities and an increase of 5.7% in health care costs. 

THE GOOD NEWS: Philadelphia has fought back against the rising tide of mortgage foreclosures by instituting the first and most successful mediation program in the nation for residential owners which has resulted in 35% of the Philadelphia participants reaching affordable agreements that keep them in their homes.  And 85% of those getting agreements were still in their homes 18 months later!