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Wednesday, August 4 • 9:00am - 10:30am
6B1 Demand for reverse mortgages: Behavioral explanations

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Tin Long Ho, UNSW Sydney; Hazel Bateman, CEPAR UNSW Sydney; Joshua Funder, Household Capital Pty Ltd; Katja Hanewald, UNSW Sydney, School of Risk and Actuarial Studies

Australian households hold a large part of their wealth in housing and reverse mortgages allow retirees to access this wealth without moving out of their home. Economic theory suggests that these products should be popular, but reverse mortgage markets around the world are small. Using an online survey administered to a sample of 1,000 Australian homeowners aged 60–80, we explore the role of behavioral factors – specifically mental accounting and narrow choice bracketing – in this “reverse mortgage puzzle”. Forty-three percent of our sample stated that they would take a reverse mortgage using an average of thirteen percent of their housing wealth. Participants who were presented with information designed to address possible mental accounting reported the highest demand for reverse mortgages. We also found some heterogeneity in the demand for reverse mortgage products, both at the extensive and the intensive margin largely associated with differences in the amount of non-housing wealth, employment status and differences in the impact of COVID-19 on health, wellbeing, and finances. This research contributes to our understanding of how to offset behavioural barriers to efficient drawdown of the entire household portfolio to finance retirement.


Xuesong (Song) You

PhD Candidate, Temple University


Tin Long Ho

UNSW Sydney
avatar for Katja Hanewald

Katja Hanewald

Senior Lecturer, UNSW Sydney, School of Risk & Actuarial Studies

Wednesday August 4, 2021 9:00am - 10:30am EDT

Attendees (9)