Seniors taking advantage of reverse mortgages in greater numbers

by Donald Horne28 Sep 2015
Mortgage debt among seniors is at an all-time high – something lenders in the reverse mortgage market are working to address.

“The strong gains in housing wealth among America’s seniors are an encouraging economic indicator for the millions of boomers who weathered the recession on the cusp of their retirement years,” said National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association President Peter Bell. “The home equity they’ve worked so hard to build up can serve as a valuable financial management tool for years to come.”

The NRMLA/RiskSpan Reverse Mortgage Market Index (RMMI), a quarterly measure that analyzes trends in the home values, home equity, and mortgage debt of homeowners 62 and older, reached an all-time high of 195.29 in the second quarter of 2015, surpassing the prior record of 192.03 set in Q4 2006.
 
For reverse mortgage lenders like 1st Reverse Mortgage USA, the product has proven wildly popular.

“The FHA HECM program allows the senior homeowner the ability to use the equity in their homes to supplement monthly cash flow and defer Social Security benefits,” Dan Harder, vice president of 1st Reverse Mortgage USA, told MPA.

On a quarter-over-quarter basis, the RMMI rose 3% in the second quarter, as senior home equity increased by $117.1 billion.
 
The increase in senior home equity relative to the first quarter was driven by an estimated $122.8 billion increase in the aggregate value of senior housing, which was offset by a $5.7 billion increase in senior-held mortgage debt.
 
The second quarter of 2015 was the 13th consecutive quarter in which the index has risen, and the current estimate of $4.08 trillion for the aggregate value of senior home equity represents a 38% recovery from the post-recession trough in Q2 2011, when senior equity levels had fallen to an estimated $3.0 trillion.

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