Veterans between the ages of 72 and 92 are far more likely to use a VA-backed loan to purchase a new home than their younger counterparts, according to a demographic study released in March by the National Association of Realtors.

The report, which measured home-buying trends over a 12-month period (July 2016-June 2017), showed that 1 in 4 of the loans used by the oldest age group surveyed came with VA backing. Other age groups fell well short:

  • 37 and under: 10 percent VA.
  • 38 to 52: 12 percent VA.
  • 53-62: 13 percent VA.
  • 63-71: 19 percent VA.

It’s tougher to determine how those older veterans fared with the VA loan process itself. The 72-to-92 age group had the highest percentage of borrowers who thought getting their loan was easier than expected (24 percent), but also had the highest percentage of those who either had a much more difficult or somewhat more difficult process than they’d planned on (38 percent). Responses weren’t broken out by loan type.

While a larger percentage of older home buyers may have access to VA loan benefits than their younger counterparts because they’ve fulfilled their service requirement, Kathleen Ricketts, a Realtor who teaches the National Association of Realtors’ class that allows members to receive a Military Relocation Professional certification, told Military Times prior to the survey that some older veterans are less than enthused about applying for a VA loan.

“If they used it 20 years ago, they’re horrified we’ll even suggest it,” said Ricketts, who operates in Chicago’s northwest suburbs. They’re like, ‘Oh, it took too long. It was a mess,’ et cetera. And then we have to dispel that, and say technology has changed that.

“I had a veteran tell me ... that using the VA [process] was ‘easy peasy.’ I thought, OK, I’ve never heard that before. But it really has changed.”

To learn more about the VA loan process, regardless of age, visit our VA Loan Center.

Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.

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