Preliminary Evaluation of the Hecm Reverse Mortgage Program
46 Pages Posted: 11 May 2000
This paper describes and evaluates the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) Insurance Demonstration, designed to encourage the development of private reverse mortgage programs by insuring lenders against the risks associated with new mortgage lending programs and with reverse mortgages in particular. The paper evaluates demand for the program by analyzing the attributes of participating borrowers, their properties and the types of payment options chosen. It also presents several observations regarding participation by the financial community in the HECM demonstration, required counseling and legal and regulatory issues that may hamper the growth and development of reverse mortgage programs in general. The findings suggest strong demand for reverse mortgages among "house-rich, cash- poor" elderly homeowners, either to supplement inadequate current incomes or to provide a reserve against unexpected lump-sum expenses. The flexible design of the HECM program addresses a wide variety of borrower financial needs, even though it imposes higher costs on lenders and servicers. The continued growth of the program, however, is hindered by a shortage of qualified housing counselors in some areas, as well as by a variety of legal and regulatory barriers.
JEL Classification: D1, G21, M00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation