Unlocking Housing Wealth in Retirement: Relocating to Benefit from Home Equity

Retirees Looking to Unlock Housing Wealth by Relocating

Retirement is often a time of transitions, and for many, that includes leaving their current home and relocating to a new one. But for those looking to maximize their retirement funds, there may be a better option: relocating to unlock home equity.

According to a study conducted by Vanguard, retirees who opt to relocate can benefit financially by taking advantage of the equity in their homes and experience greater monetary security. According to the report, older homeowners could potentially access roughly $100,000 of home equity by relocating to a less expensive housing market.

The report suggests that retiring and relocating could be beneficial for numerous retirees.[0] Analysis of millions of migration records from the American Community Survey (ACS) reveals that approximately 60% of persons aged 60 and over relocate to a more affordable housing market. Over a ten-year period, this suggests that 25% of retirees have the potential to improve their retirement funding through relocation, in stark contrast to the low uptake of reverse mortgages – a tool created to help retirees access their home equity.

Some retirees, after selling homes they bought in their youth and moving to a more affordable area, experience a significant increase in their wealth. According to a study from Vanguard Group, the average homeowner was able to save close to $100,000 in 2019 by relocating to a region with more affordable housing prices and selling their primary residence.

Those who are retired and relocating from their primary residence in the West Coast states of Washington, Oregon and California, as well as in the Northeast, are likely to benefit the most from unlocking their home equity when they retire, according to Vanguard, due to the higher home prices in those regions.[1] The report states that those from Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and Florida are also “well-positioned.”[1]

If you own a home in states such as Alabama, Mississippi, Nebraska, and South Dakota located in the Midwestern or Southeastern region, you may find yourself in a situation where you lose money on the transaction.[2] Home values in many of these states have not risen as quickly as in other parts of the country.[2]

The reward can be even greater in certain instances.[2] An individual in her mid-30s bought a primary residence for $170,000 in Boston in the early 1990s, as an example cited by Vanguard.[3]

0. “Report shows HECM for Purchase product is misunderstood” ReverseMortgageDaily, 8 Mar. 2023,

1. “Why moving in retirement can earn you an extra $100,000 — or more” CNBC, 7 Mar. 2023,

2. “It’s Possible To Make $100K or More in Retirement — How Social Security Factors In” AOL, 8 Mar. 2023,

3. “Vanguard Says Retirees Can Add At Least $100K To Retirement …” MENAFN.COM, 11 Mar. 2023,