Reverse mortgage borrowers are getting younger, report finds

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The average age of homeowners now considering reverse mortgages has plunged in recent years with the collapse of the housing market, according to a new report.

One in five prospective borrowers of home equity conversion mortgages are between the ages of 62 and 64, according to a report released by MetLife and the National Council on Aging. The average age of consumers who have been through the required reverse mortgage counseling has dropped to 71.5 years old.

Reverse mortgages — which allow consumers to draw on home equity without monthly mortgage payments and don't have income requirements — are touted by long-term care advocates as a private-pay means of paying for long-term care.

"While the economic downturn may be a major reason borrowers have begun to use this financial option for debt management, in the future it is likely that tapping home equity will be viewed as part of the entire retirement planning process,” Barbara Stucki, Ph.D., vice president for home equity initiatives for NCOA, said. “It is likely the reverse mortgage option will be considered alongside some of the more traditional methods of saving and investment.”

Click here to read the full report.