With all the media hype that seniors are losing their homes because they have a reverse mortgage and have tax defaults, the latest data shows the homework wasn’t done before reporting their stories. Trying to paint a negative of reverse mortgages is widespread without the data to back it up.
The fact is rather than foreclose, reverse mortgage servicers made advancements on behalf of borrowers for their insurance and property taxes defaults. And since January 2011 when FHA introduced loss mitigation tools the servicers have been working with the borrowers who were delinquent on their property taxes and insurance. As a result, 20% of those in these situations have been repaid. Another 60% of the defaulted borrowers have begun making repayments.
According to HUD’s Director of Single Family Program Development, Karin Hill, the default rate for the more recent Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs) is lower than the loans done previously with the worst performing being from 2007 and 2008 which account for just under 40% of all those in default.
The first four years after origination the probability of default increases then slowly declines over time noted Hill. Younger borrowers (62 to 65) are the most likely to default however they are making more repayments than older borrowers.
While we haven’t received data on those who have not made repayments, servicers and HUD remain committed to assist senior homeowners to remain in their home. It shouldn’t be assumed that reverse mortgage borrowers have gone into foreclosure. It’s important to remember that even without a reverse mortgage in place, these homeowners who haven’t paid their property taxes face foreclosure or tax forfeiture through the county. The reverse mortgage is not the reason senior homeowners go into foreclosure.
While the headlines report senior homeowners are losing their homes because of a reverse mortgage and tax defaults, the data shows otherwise; it’s just more myths about reverse mortgages.
Resource: The National Reverse Mortgages Lenders Association (NRMLA); data presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting & Expo by senior HECM managers.
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