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Senior Housing Wealth Reaches Historic High

Homeowners who were 62 and older enjoyed a 1.6% increase in their housing wealth during the third quarter of 2020, according to the new data report from the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA)/RiskSpan Reverse Mortgage Market Index (RMMI).

During the third quarter, the RMMI determine that seniors’ housing wealth increased by $121 billion from the second quarter to hit a new record of $7.82 trillion. The RMMI rose during the third quarter to 280.99, its highest level in the 20-year history of the index.

The NRMLA primarily attributed this increase in senior homeowner's wealth to an estimated $149 billion quarterly increase in senior home values, a 1.6% uptick, which was offset by a 1.6% or $28 billion increase in senior-held mortgage debt.

“The reverse mortgage marketplace has greatly expanded over the past year to include more private-label products that offer consumers more options and greater flexibility compared to the FHA-insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgage,” said NRMLA President Steve Irwin. “While the HECM still accounts for over 90% of the market, we expect private-label reverse mortgage distribution channels to expand over time.”

The new RMMI numbers follows a data report from earlier this week by Reverse Market Insight (RMI) that found Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) endorsements were up 15.1% year-over-year in December to 4,097 loans. For the calendar year 2020, HECM volume recorded an annualized increase of 37.5% to 44,661 loans. Eight of the 10 regions tracked by RMI recorded strong growth during December, led by New England’s 59.5% upswing to 118 loans, the Rocky Mountain region’s 28.9% rise and the Northwest/Alaska region’s 18.7% increase.

Also this week, data compiled by New View Advisors showed that HECM-backed securities (HMBS) issuances reached $1.2 billion for December and ended 2020 at $10.6 billion in total issuance. The record level for these issuances is the $10.8 billion mark set in 2018.

About Author: Phil Hall

Phil Hall is a former United Nations-based reporter for Fairchild Broadcast News, the author of nine books, the host of the award-winning SoundCloud podcast "The Online Movie Show," co-host of the award-winning WAPJ-FM talk show "Nutmeg Chatter" and a writer with credits in The New York Times, New York Daily News, Hartford Courant, Wired, The Hill's Congress Blog and Profit Confidential. His real estate finance writing has been published in the ABA Banking Journal, Secondary Marketing Executive, Servicing Management, MortgageOrb, Progress in Lending, National Mortgage Professional, Mortgage Professional America, Canadian Mortgage Professional, Mortgage Professional News, Mortgage Broker News and HousingWire.

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