Senior-held home equity falls to $12.84 trillion in Q4 2023

Homeowners 62 and older saw their collective home equity levels drop in the fourth quarter of 2023 by roughly $119 billion to $12.84 trillion, the third quarterly fall in the last year.

This is according to the Reverse Mortgage Market Index (RMMI), a measure of senior-held home equity from the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) and data analytics firm RiskSpan.

The RMMI fell to 449.02 in Q4, a slight decline from the Q3 level of 453.19. Senior home values fell from $15.28 trillion in Q3 to $15.18 trillion in Q4, which could have been driven by an increase in senior-held mortgage debt to $19.8 billion.

RiskSpan’s analysis of the data asserted that this drop corresponds with a seasonal downturn in overall home sales, according to an email alert distributed to NRMLA’s membership.

The RMMI is often cited by reverse mortgage companies as a sign of the unrealized market potential of the industry. During Finance of America Companies Q4 earnings presentation last week, the company cited the Q3 2023 RMMI figure of $13.08 trillion as indicative of the potential for the home to serve as a senior’s “greatest retirement asset.”

Senior homeowners were big beneficiaries of the run-up in home prices observed during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2011, the collective level of senior-held equity sat at roughly $3 trillion while in Q3 2021, the RMMI index rose by 4%, topping $10 trillion for the first time, while the index grew by 3.98% in Q4 2021. The RMMI grew by 4.91% during Q1 2022 — when it first topped $11 trillion. In Q2 2022, the RMMI grew by 4.10%.

The collective senior housing wealth figure reached a threshold of over $9 trillion for the first time in July 2021, and $8 trillion for the first time in April 2021. It had previously topped $7 trillion for the first time in March 2019.

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