Effect of the Economy on Housing Choices – 2009


The economic downturn has resulted in Americans “holding back” or “putting off” housing decisions. People have reduced their overall housing expenditures, delayed making major improvements to their home, and delayed selling their home. This 2009 AARP study was conducted to determine people’s thoughts, experiences, and perceptions of the effect the recession has had on their housing situation.

Key Points

This study consisted of three parts: 1) an omnibus survey of 1,016 respondents, 2) focus group research, and 3) a combined qualitative/quantitative study. Overall, it was concluded that approximately half of respondents want to stay in their current homes as they age, for as long as possible. Additionally, they are confident that this will be possible.

Other report highlights include:

  1. Top reasons for wanting or needing to move were moving into a home all on one level, moving into a newer home, or moving into a smaller home.
  2. Top reasons for wanting to continue living in their current home were affordability, liking the size of their current home, liking the area they live in, and being near friends and family.
  3. Overall, people feel that the current economic recession has made housing decisions more difficult because finances are tighter, because retirement desires are dependent on an uncertain retirement status, and because and people have strong emotions about having friends and family live with them.

How to Use

This study provides an in-depth look at the effect of the recession on the housing situation and how people are altering their housing decisions. The information provided lends itself as an opportunity for community planners and officials to understand better peoples’ thoughts and fears regarding the recession and housing, especially as they age and desire to stay in place for as long as possible.

View full report: Effect of the Economy on Housing Choices – 2009 (PDF – 282 KB)

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