Impact 5: How the housing crisis impacts 50+ community

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - Sisters Susann and Janie Reeves bought their 3-bedroom home in Boynton Beach 11 years ago.  

"From the time we purchased the property to watch the house build, every three or four weeks we watched our equity increase by $4,000 and the house wasn't even built yet," Susann Reeves said.

They used that equity to pay off debt and after two refinances and a modification, they ended up with an adjustable rate mortgage. Their payment jumped $500 a month.

"We just want a reasonable interest rate," Reeves said.

But the sisters are close to $45,000 dollars underwater, meaning they owe more than on their mortgage than what the home is worth.

Tammy McDonald Anderson from the Urban League of Palm Beach County said that's what happened to many older Americans.

"They were getting second mortgages, they refinanced. They were told, 'oh, don't worry about it, we're going to give you an adjustable rate mortgage and you can just refinance in a couple of years,' and now they don't have the equity. So yes, they are losing their homes," McDonald Anderson said.

AARP just announced results of its new study showing how the housing crisis has impacted the 50+ community.

Since 2007, 1.5 million people over 50 have lost their homes. And as of December 2011, 3.5 million were underwater, 625,000 were more than 90-days delinquent, and 600,000 were in foreclosure.

"If things don't turn around, I may be forced to short sale my home, and have to go rent some place or go into assisted living facility, and that's not really what I want for my future," Reeves said.

Help is available.

"We try to work with everybody and provide them with the tools and use the resources that we have to assist them to overcome those situations," McDonald Anderson said.

You can read more about the Urban League of Palm Beach County by clicking here .

You can read more about AARP's study by clicking here .

If you've been impacted by the housing crisis you can send us your story too.

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