Homeownership in old age and at the time of death

Gary V. Engelhardt, Michael D. Eriksen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We construct estimates of U.S. homeownership rates as individuals age and die, using exit-interview data from the Health and Retirement Study. Homeownership falls to under 8% among the oldest old (centenarians). However, most Americans do not live that long—40%–50% die as homeowners. For those, 16% of housing assets are spent down in the final 16 months of life. The remainder is transferred to surviving spouses (52%) and other heirs (32%).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110340
JournalEconomics Letters
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Bequests
  • Elderly homeownership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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