Senior homeowners can obtain a more generous reverse mortgage loan in 2006 than ever before meaning they can convert a greater portion of the equity in their homes into tax-free income using one of these special mortgage plans. The new rules affect the federally insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) and the Fannie Mae Home Keeper reverse mortgages. About 90 percent of all reverse mortgage sales have been HECMs (insured via FHA).
Also, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation lifting the cap on the number of HECM reverse mortgages that can be issued -- those that are insured by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This legislation is still pending. There are now about 150,000 HECM mortgages outstanding. Lawmakers are very aware of the increasing popularity of reverse mortgage plans with senior homeowners.
Simply stated, a reverse mortgage is a means of tapping the equity in a home to generate a stream of addition monthly income for the owner. This income can continue until the homeowners sells or moves away from the home, or dies. As an alternative plan, the homeowner can receive a lump sum, activate a line of credit, or contract for a combination of these plans. The reverse mortgage is usually funded by a lending institution such as a mortgage lender, bank, credit union or savings and loan association. The borrower must be at least 62 years of age, own and occupy their home, and (in the case of HECMs) must participate in a consumer information session offered by an approved HECM counselor.
As for the increase amount of funds available this year, the HECM product varies by geographic area. The highest of the loan limits will grow from $312,896 to $362,790. These figures apply to most metro areas. Fannie Maes loan limit for single-family home mortgages, including its Home Keeper loans, have risen to $417,000 from last years $359,650.
Copyright 2006 TheLowQuote
Jim Woodard Syndicated real estate columnist and feature writer
Mortgage / Real Estate Update Report