The percentage of homeowners aged 65 or older who are carrying mortgage debt spiked from 22 percent in 2001 to 30 percent in 2011, according to a new report from the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In the 75-and-up age bracket, the rate more than doubled from 8.4 percent in 2001 to 21.2 percent in 2011.
The refinancing boom of the 2000s can be blamed for much of the increase. "Other factors include a general trend among Americans to buy their first home later in life, provide small down payments on home purchases, and borrow against their home equity to pay for a variety of expenses," the report notes.
The median mortgage debt for seniors jumped 82 percent, with the median amount owed soaring from $43,300 in 2001 to $79,000 in 2011.