Monday, 16 december 2019 | Redacción CEU
Spain is one of the countries in the world where people live the longest. This is why its inhabitants may be worried about whether they will be able to maintain a satisfactory standard of living during their retirement or not. Beyond the possible debates about the current and future pension system, today, on the CEU IAM Blog, we have decided to talk about one of the least known and most special financial formulas aimed at elderly people: reverse mortgages. They are a financial product that enables people to obtain a loan, by using their house as collateral and without having to take charge of the debt repayment at any time. What exactly are the particularities of this proposal?
Before delving into the details of this financial product, which can be quite complex, it is necessary to state properly what the meaning of "reverse mortgage" is. To this end, we make use of the definition which appears on The Access Guide to Reverse Mortgage written by the Bank of Spain: <<It is a credit or loan which is guaranteed with a mortgage that falls on the habitual housing (also on other properties, but, in that case, the potential tax advantages or benefits would be lower), and which can be receive as a lump-sum payment or in installments. It is granted to people who must be over a certain age - from 65 years old- or who accredit a degree of disability (equal to or greater than 33%) or dependency (severe or great dependency), not being required to return it until the time of their death [writer’s translation]>>.
One of the most characteristic features that we can point out about this product is the age of the people at whom it is aimed, which is generally people over 65 years old. Hence, there is a paradox. Interestingly enough, this product is little known in one of the countries with more long-lived population, which also has a high rate of home-ownership. In particular, in its VII Survey on the Savings among the Spanish Population, BBVA Institute of Pensions indicates that eight out of ten people born between 1957 and 1977 own a home (38% are still paying their mortgages). According to this study, if one day they needed more money to live, 61% of them would be willing to use their house as a source of financing.
The largest Spanish banks do not offer this financial instrument. This could be one of the main reasons why reverse mortgages are little known in Spain. However, this product has been regulated since 2007 (Law 41/2007), and there are some Spanish financial institutions that offer it.