New York Regional NRMLA Conference Offers Useful Information – Part FOUR – NRMLA Research Forum

25 Mar

The very last session at last week’s Regional Conference was an overview of recent research.

Michael Eriksen of the University of Georgia presented “Aging in Place, Access to Affordable Housing and the Health and Living Arrangements of Older Americans.”   With 75 million baby boomers on the verge of retirement, this is an important topic.  There is a clear desire to age in place.  In fact, 80% of older households were found to be owner-occupied. While homeownership rates dropped off in the mid-2000’s for other age groups, 65 and older homeownership continued and continues to rise.

Findings from this study also show that 1/3 of older homeowners have experienced a serious fall, fall rates are on the rise, but only 16% live in handicapped-modified homes.  Modifications are needed, but can be costly, leading to the conclusion that home equity may be the best way to pay for them.

Cindy Hounsell of the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement spoke about the need to inform women, especially, about financial options available in retirement.  At age 65 and over, there ate 6 million more women than men in the United States, and 68% of the 85 and older population are women.  Women’s issues to be considered are that they earn less therefore have less in savings and pensions, but live longer and often live alone.  Women need to realize that their biggest risk is outliving their retirement savings.  More women than men have consistently taken out reverse mortgages.

Ohio State University’s Stephanie Moulton presented research on “Aging in Place: Analyzing the Use of Reverse Mortgages to Preserve Independent Living.”  The underlying assumption is that reverse mortgages provide greater financial security which, combined with the ability to stay in one’s own home, may lead to independence and overall well-being.

Like other speakers in the conference, she pointed out that the pool of potential eligible HECM borrowers is growing.   Additionally, the age of the average HECM borrower is getting younger and more HECM borrowers have more mortgage debt.

Clients counseled for reverse mortgages reported that they used reverse mortgage funds mainly to increase monthly income and pay off existing mortgage debt.

 

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