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October 23, 2019
What are the things you expect out of retirement? When you think of the many aspirations that you hold for your post-work life, which are the most important to you? Does home ownership figure prominently in your strategy, or is it relatively unimportant to you?
A recent report from Harvard’s Joint Center of Housing Studies states that 80% of households with a member 65 or older own their home. That indicates that many people in the traditional retirement years have prioritized ownership. However, a web service for renters called RENTCafé has analyzed government data and discovered that the number of renters 60 and older saw a 40% rise during the years 2007-2017, with even larger boosts in some larger cities.2
Why the rise? There are several reasons, and not all of them may be immediately obvious. For one, just because you own your home, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re ready to handle the cost of ongoing home maintenance. Putting a new roof on your house can be costly, and plumbers aren’t exactly inexpensive. For some retirees, these costs may be overwhelming, so figuring home maintenance into your retirement strategy could prove advantageous.
Your own health could be a factor as well. A sudden illness or injury might make life in your home more difficult, necessitating a move.
The good news is that were you to transition from home ownership to renting, there is a $250,000 exclusion for capital gains on a home you’ve lived in for two of the previous five years ($500,000 for married couples filing jointly). That exclusion has the potential to cushion your transition significantly, should it become necessary or desirable. Either way, it’s good to take this into consideration as you strategize for retirement.2
The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.