Local Spotlight: Reverse Mortgages in New England

Last October, New England saw a 34 percent increase in reverse mortgage growth, according to data analytics firm Reverse Market Insight. This growth positioned the region in the top spot, followed by the Southwest, which saw a 29 percent increase.

So what are they doing right in New England?

  • Regional Stats:
    • Total New England Population: 14,810,001 (2017 estimate from US Census)
    • Senior Population (Ages 65 and up): 2,251,120 (15.2% of total population)
    • Average Home Value: $272,200 (Zillow, averaged from all six states)
    • Year-over-year Home Price Appreciation: 5.3% (Zillow, averaged from all six states)

Turns out, there’s a robust senior community in the area, says Lisa Moriello, CRMP, National Reverse Mortgage Lending Manager and Branch Manager at LoanDepot, in Shelton, Conn.

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“We have vibrant, active seniors looking to stay close to their friends, family and the activities they enjoy,” she says of New England, which consists of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Also, she adds, their property values are among the highest in the nation, and their seniors, who tend to be younger – between the ages of 63 and 72 – enjoy a substantial amount of equity in their homes.

The problem, however, is that the region seems resistant to change, says George Downey, CRMP, Harbor Mortgage Solutions, Inc., in Braintree, Mass.

“We have a dense population of aging homeowners that is the ideal community for the reverse mortgage product, but they are slow to change,” he says. “Many initiatives begin in California, but it takes five years for it to catch on in Massachusetts. The potential is here, it’s just slow to develop.”

Another challenge is the lack of HUD-approved condos in the area, according to Moriello.

“As seniors look to right-size into a new property, condos are often left out of the loop because their FHA approvals are expired, and neither the management company nor the associations themselves want to take on the task of getting the project approved again,” she says.

Despite these setbacks, coupled with the ones the rest of the nation’s originators faced after October 2017, things are looking up in New England. Both Downey and Moriello agree that 2019 could be a big year.

“We have already had a record number of inquiries from clients and advisors alike, outlining proposals for reverse mortgages to compliment an existing financial plan,” Moriello says. “I am excited to see the use of a reverse mortgage purchase making waves in the Northeast.”

Written by Meredith Landry

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article related inaccurate information concerning Lisa Moriello’s title and position. RMD regrets the error and has amended it in the current version of this story.

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