More than 1.5 million Americans aged 50 or more have lost their homes since the collapse of the housing market in 2007 as delinquency rates and foreclosures soar, according to advocacy group AARP.
About 3.5 million loans, or one in six to people in the age group, had balances that were higher than the value of the property being purchased as of December, according to a report by Lori Trawinksi for the Washington-based lobby.
"More older Americans are carrying mortgage debt than in the past, and the amount of that debt is also increasing," Debra Whitman, AARP's executive vice president for policy, said in a statement. "Their economic situation is worsening."
The percentage of loans to older Americans that are in foreclosure or at least 90 days delinquent increased to 6 percent in December from 1.1. percent in 2007. That's faster than the rise to 7.5 percent from 1.6 percent for people younger than 50. Last year, the foreclosure rate on prime loans for older Americans was 23 times higher than the 0.1 percent rate in 2007, the report found.
Foreclosure rates for blacks and Hispanics who are 50 or older were 3.5 percent and 3.9 percent in 2011. That's nearly double the 1.9 percent rate for white buyers, it found.
"This crisis is far from over," Whitman said. "Many loans remain in danger of falling into foreclosure."