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Reverse Mortgage Market Index Exceeds Expectations

According to the NRMLA/RiskSpan Reverse Mortgage Market Index (RMMI), the value of home equity held  by seniors aged 62 and over is estimated at $3.3 trillion as of the end of 2010. 


Although falling home values have had a negative impact on the total value, this has been counteracted by the growth of this segment of the population.  The senior homeowners also tend to have lower mortgage debt levels comparative to other segments.

The level of senior home equity has declined by 18 percent from peak levels, but has performed better when compared to the total population of homeowners, which has declined by 31 percent.

“This data shows us that the home equity is still an important component of total wealth for seniors. As such, this equity will be increasingly important to help seniors fund longevity as they outlive the generations before them,” said Peter Bell, President of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association.

The RMMI, updated quarterly, is indexed relative to the first quarter of 2000, when the reporting began.  The fourth quarter 2010 reading of 157.7 is 0.3 percent lower than the previous quarter.  Analyzing FHFA and Census data, the report found that the value of senior housing fell by $15 billion to $4.3 trillion, with mortgage debt levels falling by $4 billion.  The net result for the quarter was an $11 billion decrease in the total level of senior home equity.

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