Americans View Homes as Good Source of Retirement Income

April 21, 2006 ( - A new report by Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, "Building Retirement Security at Home," found that 85% of Americans view their homes as a way to fund their retirement.

Just under half (44%) agree that their home is their most important financial safety net for retirement, according to real estate magazine RISMedia.

In addition to the 65% who say equity in their home is major contribution to retirement, 54% feel employment-based retirement plans and 42% say income growth are also core contributing factors to their retirement future security, the article said.

To access equity in their homes, two-thirds of the survey’s respondents said they would need to consider downsizing to less-expensive housing, according to a summary on Prudential’s Web site. However, more than half of near-retirees who own their homes do not intend to sell. Eighteen percent will only do so in an emergency, and 23% will hold on to their home as long as possible, selling later in retirement, according to the article.

The survey found that homeowners are generally unaware of reverse mortgages, which allow a homeowner to unlock their residence’s equity while still remaining in their home, 75% of respondents said they did not know how to generate an income in retirement using home equity.

Three-quarters of homeowners still hold a mortgage on their primary residence, and about half of those in retirement still have a mortgage. Those who feel less prepared financially for retirement are more likely to still have a mortgage.

The full report is here .