Is there a need for reverse mortgages in Germany? Empirical evidence and policy implications
Building up sufficient capital for old-age provision, poses a challenge to private households. Homeowners can resort to illiquid housing wealth by using home reversion plans or reverse mortgages. While reverse mortgages are common in the USA and the UK, a German market is quasi non-existent. This Policy Report provides evidence on the demand- and supply-side reasons for the absence of a reverse mortgage market in Germany. It finds that there is potential for the market to grow in the medium term and could benefit cash-poor but house-rich households, hence decreasing old-age poverty. While the analysis focuses on Germany, its implications are equally relevant for other European countries, in particular for those with higher homeownership rates and less generous public pension schemes.