Reverse mortgages jumped 77% in FY2006

… according to The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association — up to 76,351. This group tracks only federally insured reverse mortgages. These are the ones with relatively high upfront costs tacked on and detailed regulations about what you can get for your house based mostly on your zip code and age. These are not the only type of reverse mortgages available, especially if you have limited income.

I am a fan of reverse mortgages, and I am glad to see their use expand so rapidly. I think they are an excellent way to take equity out of your house for living expenses (if you are at least 62 years old), but they are complicated.

Think of them as a special line of credit that you draw down as needed. But unlike other lines of credit, you do not have to make any payments until you sell your house or die. Even if you exhaust the whole line, no payments are due until sale or death.

California cities (including SF and LA) are five of the top ten locations for these mortgages, Boston and Phoenix are on the top ten list, as is New York. but only one Florida city (Coral Gables) makes it.

There is a handy calculator at www.reversemortgage.org (remember it applies only to federally insured reverse mortgages) and you can find more information on this site.

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