Record Home Equity Wealth Expands Financial Options for Many Older Homeowners

Collective housing wealth among homeowners, 62 and older, reached a record $7.23 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to data provided by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) in conjunction with data analytics firm RiskSpan. The record total is an increase of about $39 billion from the previous quarter.

The rise in home equity wealth should be welcome news to older homeowners seeking to supplement their retirements with alternative sources of money, especially during the coronavirus outbreak that has roiled financial markets, including the 401(k) retirement income accounts of many Americans.

“The responsible use of home equity may be an option to help seniors stay financially secure during the current market disruptions,” said Steve Irwin, president of NRMLA in a release announcing the new data.

For the 2019 October-December quarter, the value of homes owned by seniors actually rose $55 billion (0.6%), but was offset by a $16.6 billion (1%) increase in senior-held mortgage debt.

Senior housing wealth first topped $7 trillion in March 2019.

NRMLA and RiskSpan have been publishing its quarterly Reverse Mortgage Market Index (RMMI), which tracks the housing wealth of older Americans, since 2000.