How the Housing Crisis Reshaped Retirement

The statistical landscape of the housing industry is bad enough: falling home values, crippling mortgage delinquencies, and very little new home construction. But beyond the numbers, financial advisers say, the impact of housing problems is also doing enormous damage to older Americans’ belief in their future and the idea that their later years represent any kind of “safe haven.” Meanwhile, the nation’s strong migration pattern—away from colder climates toward warmer-weather areas—has been frozen in place. People are staying put.

Beyond direct financial losses due to real estate, says Brian Ullmann, a financial consultant in Fresno, Calif., “the real impact has been on the psyche of clients. Even those that didn’t have plans to move in the short or long term have become shaken when they look at the value of their homes and how they have plummeted over the last few years.”

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