Just as the housing market is recovering, a growing group of homeowners–widows over the age of 50 whose husbands alone were holders of the mortgage–are losing their homes to foreclosure.
Homeowners over 50 are falling into foreclosure at the fastest pace of any age group, according to nationwide data, in part because women are outliving their spouses and are unable to cope with cuts in their pensions, ballooning medical costs, and the fine print on their mortgages.
While there are no exact measures of how many widows have entered foreclosure, figures compiled by AARP show the rate of foreclosures among people over 50 increased by 23 percent from 2007 to 2011, resulting in 1.5 million foreclosures.
A few lenders have tweaked their procedures to navigate the problem, and housing advocates are petitioning the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to devise guidelines for lenders in situations that involve surviving relatives.
Source: “Mortgage Catch Pushes Widows Into Foreclosure,” New York Times, (Dec. 2, 2012)