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.