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A new look at reverse mortgages: potential market and institutional constraints

Author

Listed:
  • Christopher J. Mayer
  • Katerina V. Simons

Abstract

Most elderly hold a significant portion of their non-pension wealth in housing equity. Although they might prefer to use this housing equity to finance current consumption, to pay for an emergency, or to help out a relative in need, utilizing this wealth, would force the sale of their home. Traditional home equity lines of credit require that principal and interest be paid back over a fixed time interval, yet many elderly want to avoid mortgage payments because they live on a limited income. Reverse mortgages hold the promise of helping elderly homeowners out of this bind by allowing them to borrow against their housing equity and receive monthly payments, while still living in their home until they die or choose to move. ; Although reverse mortgages have been offered for more tl~an a decade, the market has never gained significant size. This afticle demonstrates a large potential market for reverse mortgages and discusses demand and supply explanations as to why the current number of reverse mortgages is so small.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher J. Mayer & Katerina V. Simons, 1994. "A new look at reverse mortgages: potential market and institutional constraints," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Mar, pages 15-26.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbne:y:1994:i:mar:p:15-26
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    File URL: http://www.bostonfed.org/economic/neer/neer1994/neer294b.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Zeldes, Stephen P, 1989. "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 305-346, April.
    2. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 706-732, August.
    3. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Weil, David N., 1989. "The baby boom, the baby bust, and the housing market," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 235-258, May.
    4. David A. Wise, 1989. "The Economics of Aging," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number wise89-1, January.
    5. Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 1991. "Aging and the income value of housing wealth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 371-397.
    6. Hubbard, R. Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1994. "The importance of precautionary motives in explaining individual and aggregate saving," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, pages 59-125.
    7. Skinner, Jonathan, 1988. "Risky income, life cycle consumption, and precautionary savings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 237-255, September.
    8. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1985. "The Cost of Annuities: Implications for Saving Behavior and Bequests," NBER Working Papers 1682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Hubbard, R Glenn & Judd, Kenneth L, 1987. "Social Security and Individual Welfare: Precautionary Saving, Borrowing Constraints, and the Payroll Tax," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 630-646, September.
    10. Menchik, Paul L & David, Martin, 1983. "Income Distribution, Lifetime Savings, and Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 672-690, September.
    11. Mirer, Thad W, 1979. "The Wealth-Age Relation among the Aged," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(3), pages 435-443, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Engelhardt, Gary V. & Mayer, Christopher J., 1998. "Intergenerational Transfers, Borrowing Constraints, and Saving Behavior: Evidence from the Housing Market," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 135-157, July.
    2. Chiang, Shu Ling & Tsai, Ming Shann, 2016. "Analyzing an elder’s desire for a reverse mortgage using an economic model that considers house bequest motivation, random death time and stochastic house price," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 202-219.
    3. Davidoff, Thomas & Gerhard, Patrick & Post, Thomas, 2017. "Reverse mortgages: What homeowners (don’t) know and how it matters," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 151-171.

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    Keywords

    Mortgages;

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