More interest in reverse mortgages as seniors' home values improve

Seniors, whose home values have taken a particularly bad beating in the recession, take note: Light may peeking through the end of the tunnel.

After remaining flat or declining for seven consecutive quarters, older Americans' average home values stopped sliding late last year, according to data from Golden Gateway Financial, which tracks such information. The national average self-reported home value of older Americans rose from $369,762 in the third quarter of 2009 to $381,895 in the fourth quarter. Although home prices among the senior population are rebounding, they still remain steeply lower than 2008 levels.

While the news about national home values was upbeat in some regions, many large states, such as Florida, Texas and New York, still are reporting significant declines in prices. This mixed recovery reflects reduced inventory in some markets, while others still are flooded with homes for sale. But pockets even within these recalcitrant markets are showing a glimmer of improvement, according to the most recent S&P/Case-Shiller Price Indices, offering some optimism for seniors who rely on their homes to supplement or support their retirements.

"This is especially true for those considering a reverse mortgage, because as their home increases in value, so does their potential for greater reverse mortgage proceeds," said Eric Bachman, Golden Gateway's CEO.