More and more Americans are carrying so much debt that they can no longer afford to retire, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Home loans are especially forcing older Americans to clock in at work every morning.
Thirty-nine percent of households with heads aged 60 through 64 had primary mortgages in 2010 and 20 percent had secondary mortgages, including home-equity lines, according to research group Strategic Business Insights' MacroMonitor, the Journal reports.
That was up from just 22 percent and 12 percent, respectively, in 1994.
|Many Americans now delay retirement to pay their bills.
(Associated Press photo)
Selling a home to pay off the mortgage and then moving into a smaller place is no longer an option because many owe more on their homes than they are worth.
"Relative to the value of their homes, the amount of indebtedness if anything has gone up because house prices have fallen faster than mortgages have been reduced," says Christopher Herbert, director of research at Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies, the newspaper reports.
Home prices are still falling although the pace of decline may be stabilizing.
The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities fell 4.5 percent in June 2011 from June 2010, after a 4.6 percent drop in the 12 months ended May that was the biggest since 2009, Bloomberg reports.
Even if the pace of the decline does slow, don't expect home values to pick up soon.
"Prices aren’t going to rebound back rapidly," Paul Dales, a senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics in Toronto, tells Bloomberg.
"Most people think that when the downturn ends the recovery will be pretty good, but that’s not going to be the case at all."
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