RMMI shows decline in senior home values and home equityMortgagePress.comReverse Mortgage Market Index, senior home values, home equity Consistent with current housing market conditions, the quarterly Reverse Mortgage Market Index (RMMI) showed a decline in senior home values and home equity held for the third quarter of 2007. However, when compared year-over-year, Americans age 62 and over still have a significant amount of wealth tied to their homes. In the third quarter, seniors held $4.255 trillion of home equity, down $25 billion from the second quarter of 2007, but still above the $4.212 trillion held in the third quarter of 2006. Furthermore, the combined value of homes owned by seniors declined by $10 billion to $5.077 trillion, compared to $4.970 trillion in the third quarter of 2006. The RMMI declined overall to 203.5 from 204.8. "While the index, not surprisingly, reflects a quarterly decline in home values and equity across most parts of the country, reverse mortgages remain as popular as ever," said Peter H. Bell, president of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, which publishes the RMMI in conjunction with Hollister Group LLC. During the most recent calendar year, the Federal Housing Administration insured a record 132,252 reverse mortgages, compared to 85,639 the year before. "Seniors recognize the value of using reverse mortgages to access the wealth they have accumulated in their homes to pay off existing mortgages and other debts, pay for healthcare, make needed repairs or to supplement retirement income," said Bell. Reverse mortgages are becoming a more mainstream financial planning tool for older homeowners. A reverse mortgage enables homeowners, usually ages 62 and older, to convert part of the equity in their home into income without having to sell it, give up title or take on a new monthly mortgage payment. The reverse mortgage is aptly named because the payment stream is "reversed." Instead of making monthly payments to a lender, as with a regular mortgage, a lender makes either one or more payments to the borrower. The loan is repaid when the borrower moves from the property. For more information, visit www.nrmla.org.
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