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Senior Housing Wealth Reaches Record High of $7.19 Trillion

Homeowners age 62 and older saw their collective housing wealth increase in Q3 2019 by 0.3% compared to the previous quarter. This constitutes an increase of approximately $24 billion to a record of $7.19 trillion, according to data provided by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) in conjunction with data analytics firm RiskSpan.

The increase was reported Tuesday in the quarterly release of the NRMLA/RiskSpan Reverse Mortgage Market Index (RMMI).

The RMMI rose in Q3 2019 to 259.19, which marks another consecutive all-time high since the index’s original publication in 2000. That increase was described as being primarily driven by an estimated 0.5% (or $40.7 billion) increase in the values of homes owned by seniors.

This was offset, however, by a 1% (or $16.5 billion) increase of senior-held mortgage debt.

“Research suggests that as we age, Americans will spend more of our hard-earned retirement assets on health care, such as insurance, prescription drugs, in-home care and other services that help us remain independent,” said NRMLA President Steve Irwin in a press release announcing the new record. “A retirement plan that includes the responsible use of home equity may be the best option that can help ensure healthcare spending doesn’t become a financial burden for many retired couples.”

Senior housing wealth topped $7 trillion for the first time ever according to a previous RMMI data release in March 2019, before hitting a new threshold of $7.17 trillion the following October.

The RMMI also previously recorded a year-over-year increase of 6.5 percent in 2018, lower than the 8.4 percent increase recorded in 2017 and the 8.2 percent increase in 2016.