SOURCE: Golden Gateway Financial

Golden Gateway Financial

October 27, 2009 08:06 ET

Significantly More Seniors Researching Reverse Mortgages According to New Data From Golden Gateway Financial

Data Also Shows That Changes in HUD Reverse Mortgage Rules and Falling Home Values Are Reducing the Amount of Money Available to Seniors

OAKLAND, CA--(Marketwire - October 27, 2009) - Golden Gateway Financial, a comprehensive financial resource for seniors and retirees, today released new usage data from its online Reverse Mortgage Calculator that showed falling home values continue to negatively impact the amount of money available to older Americans through a reverse mortgage. At the same time, the company also reported a dramatic increase in the number of individuals who have researched reverse mortgages in the past 90 days.

Over that time period, the number of seniors using the company's award-winning online calculator has increased nearly 90 percent from the previous quarter. This significant increase in older homeowners researching a reverse mortgage mirrors the growth in reverse mortgages overall.

This increase is also likely driven by conditions in the marketplace that are reducing the amount of money seniors can gain through a reverse mortgage. Many then are seeking relief now to maximize their equity. These factors include new HUD regulations that slashed reverse mortgage proceeds by ten percent, a continued decline in self-reported home values, and federal legislation whose expiration at the end of this year will significantly reduce reverse mortgage limits even further.

"Older Americans continue to feel the lingering effects of the recession more than other segments of the population, and a growing number of them are actively looking for ways to generate additional cash in retirement," said Eric Bachman, founder and CEO of Golden Gateway Financial. "Unfortunately, these individuals stand to lose even more leverage and equity in their own homes when the temporary increase on mortgage limits expires at the end of this year. Seniors need this higher limit renewed as another tool that can help them find their financial footing."

Recent HUD regulation changes resulted in an across-the-board ten percent reduction in reverse mortgage proceeds available to seniors. At the same time, seniors are reporting a growing decline in their estimated home value. While the latest S&P/Case-Shiller(1) Home Price Indices highlights a slowing drop in home values across the country, seniors seem to be gaining momentum. The decline in senior home values was reported at 1.4 percent between the first and second quarters of this year, but it dropped steeply to nearly ten percent or an average loss of almost $40,000 between the second and third quarters of 2009.

This is troubling for seniors because the amount of money available through a reverse mortgage is directly tied to the value of their home and the equity they hold in it. Further compounding this reduction in available equity is temporary legislation that increased reverse mortgage limits to $625,500. When this expires at the end of 2009, limits will fall back to $417,000, further reducing the amount of reverse mortgage proceeds available to borrowers.

Additional observations from the data include:

--  The average age of users remained roughly consistent
--  Self-reported senior home values dropped nearly ten percent by almost
    $40,000 between the second and third quarters of 2009
--  The median reported home value dropped below $300,000 for the first
    time in more than a year
--  The average existing mortgage debt fell by approximately $8,000 from
    the previous quarter
--  The amount of max monthly payments available more than doubled between
    the second and third quarters of 2009
    

       Reverse Mortgage Calculator National Averages

                                Q1 '09     Q2 '09      Q3 '09
---------------------------------------------------------------
Average age                     69.5       69.3        69.4
---------------------------------------------------------------
Average home value              $413,371   $407,557    $369,762
---------------------------------------------------------------
Median home value               $300,00    $300,000    $270,000
---------------------------------------------------------------
Percent with existing mortgage  49.9%      49.8%       51.3%
---------------------------------------------------------------
Average existing mortgage debt  $161,265   $152,455    $144,497
---------------------------------------------------------------
Average max up front payment    $143,872   $151,089    $136,711
---------------------------------------------------------------
Average max monthly payment     $922       $1097       $993
---------------------------------------------------------------

* For state specific data, please contact Golden Gateway Financial

Golden Gateway Financial's award-winning online reverse mortgage calculator has been recognized as an important resource for seniors by the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, USA Today, and others. It allows users to enter basic information to configure reverse mortgage loan parameters and then compare lenders based on those fields. Golden Gateway Financial makes anonymous and aggregated data from these basic entry fields publicly available on a quarterly basis.

Golden Gateway Financial recently launched a new Reverse Mortgage for Purchase Calculator to offer borrowers assistance in understanding how changes in federal reverse mortgage guidelines could help them.

For more information about reverse mortgages or to access Golden Gateway Financial's industry-leading suite of online retirement assessment tools and resources, please visit http://www.goldengateway.com.

About Golden Gateway Financial

Golden Gateway Financial (http://www.goldengateway.com), located in Oakland, California, is a comprehensive resource for senior citizens, baby boomers and soon-to-be retirees to assess their financial health at retirement. Through a unique set of online tools and clear and unbiased communication, the company helps individuals address The Great American Retirement Dilemma. The tools enable users to better assess the security of their nest egg and to make intelligent choices to fully enjoy what should be the best years of their lives. The company also operates the industry's premier reverse mortgage and life settlement services with innovative new calculators and products for each, and a team of trained counselors to help seniors better understand the products and evaluate whether they are right for them.

(1) Broad Improvement in Home Price According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices Indices (Press Release), Standard & Poor's, September 29, 2009

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