The psychology and economics of reverse mortgage attitudes: evidence from the Netherlands

Rik Dillingh, Henriette Prast, Mariacristina Rossi, Cesira Urzì Brancati: WP CeRP 135/13


This paper presents the results from a survey on the attitudes toward reverse mortgages of homeowners aged 45 and over in the Netherlands. We find that there is substantial potential interest in reverse mortgages, especially for the purpose of being able to live more comfortably and not worry about money until death, or to be able to spend a large sum of money upon retirement on hobbies, home improvements or traveling. A similar study has been done for Italy, where results differ from those related to the Netherland. For Italian households a reverse mortgage is primarily seen as a last resort. We use two different frames for suggestions on the use of the loan – own consumption versus bequest – and find that the latter significantly raises interest in reverse mortgages of people with a bequest wish. We interpret this as evidence that people are unaware of the potential of reverse mortgages to optimize the timing of bequests. Women are less interested, while demand is highest among those around retirement age, depends positively on the ratio of housing wealth over income and on the perceived riskiness of future pensions, and negatively on the expected replacement ratio. We find a counterintuitive result for bequest timing, as people are more interested if the age difference with the oldest child is larger.

Data di pubblicazione: Novembre 2013

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