Is the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage in the United States sustainable? Evidence from pricing mortgage insurance premiums and non-recourse provisions using the conditional Esscher transform
The purpose of this paper is to build a modeling and pricing framework to investigate the sustainability of the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program in the United States under realistic economic scenarios, i.e., whether the premium payments cover the fair premiums for the inherent risks in the HECM program. We note that earlier HECM models use static mortality tables, neglecting the dynamics of mortality rates and extreme mortality jumps. The earlier models also assume housing prices follow a geometric Brownian motion, which contradicts the fact that housing prices exhibit strong autocorrelation and varying volatility over time. To solve these problems, we propose a generalized Lee-Carter model with asymmetric jump effects to fit the mortality data, and model the house price index via an ARIMA-GARCH process. We then employ the conditional Esscher transform to price the non-recourse provision of reverse mortgages and compare it with the calculated mortgage insurance premiums. The HECM program turns out to be sustainable based on our model setup and parameter settings.
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