As of the third quarter of 2013, Americans aged 62 years and older had more equity in their homes than at any time since mid-2008, according to the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA)/RiskSpan Reverse Mortgage Market Index.
The index, which analyzes trends in the home values, home equity, and mortgage debt of homeowners 62 and older, is updated quarterly and tracks back to the start of 2000.
As of the third quarter of 2013, the index reached its highest level (165.7) since the third quarter of 2008 – the sixth consecutive quarterly increase.
Over the past two years, the aggregate home equity held by Americans 62 and older grew 12.5% to a total of $3.34 trillion, according to NRMLA.
Mortgage debt held by Americans 62 and older stood at $1.08 trillion in the third quarter of last year – a slight increase from the prior two quarters when debt levels were at $1.07 trillion. Senior mortgage debt peaked at $1.143 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2009.
The senior housing value estimate is based on the Federal Housing Finance Agency's third-quarter 2013 all-transactions indices, which saw housing values increase in 72% of the 412 metropolitan statistical areas covered by RiskSpan.
Over the long term, home equity has proven to be a valuable resource. The collective home equity of Americans 62 and older has grown by 83.7% since the launch of the index.
In the first quarter of 2000, seniors owned $2.10 trillion in home equity, compared to $3.34 trillion today.