With real estate prices on the rise, seniors now have more equity in their homes than at any time in the last four years, according to recent data from the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA).
According to the NRMLA/RiskSpan Reverse Mortgage Market Index (RMMI) for the first quarter of 2013, the aggregate home equity held by Americans age 62 and older grew 6.4% over the past year to a total of $3.25 trillion, a four-year high.
The total amount of mortgage debt for homeowners 62 and older currently stands at about $1.07 trillion, the lowest level since the third quarter of 2007.
Senior mortgage debt peaked at $1.14 trillion in the third quarter of 2010, according to the report.
The RMMI is updated quarterly and tracks back to the start of 2000.
Nationwide, senior home equity increased $49.5 billion in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. This was driven by an estimated $45.1 billion increase in the aggregate value of housing owned by Americans 62 and older, while their collective mortgage debt decreased by $4.4 billion.
The RMMI increased 1.55% in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2012, the fourth consecutive quarterly increase, NRMLA reports.