It’s not news to residents of the eight-county San Joaquin Valley that the area has been hard hit economically since 2008, when the housing bubble deflated. Many neighborhoods show signs of neglect as people unable to meet their mortgage obligations lose their homes to foreclosure.
Among those facing this prospect in the central part of the state are a growing number of older homeowners. Exactly how many is hard to pin down. Foreclosure figures typically are not broken down by the owner’s age, according to Sean O’Toole, president of ForeclosureRadar, which provides subscribers with foreclosure figures and statistics.
However, a recent study [PDF] by AARP, the grimly titled "Nightmare on Main Street," said that as of December 2011, 600,000 loans for homeowners ages 50 and older were in foreclosure, while 3.5 million loans for the age group were “underwater,” meaning the home’s value was less than the loan.
AARP spokeswoman Christina Klem says older homeowners face a “double-edged sword” in regard to foreclosure as opposed to younger owners: They don’t have as many years to recoup financial losses and those who are seeking work “are unemployed longer.”
Seniors also are more likely to end up in trouble because of scams and requests for financial help from family members, according to foreclosure prevention experts.