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Fund your retirement with a Reverse Mortgage loan.
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Australia’s #1 Reverse Mortgage loan broker
Since launching in 2006, Seniors First has helped thousands of people over sixty release home equity for cash.
And it's no wonder, because there are good reasons why it’s better to use a broker when applying for a Reverse Mortgage loan:
The Seniors First team are ready to help you too.
And when it’s time to apply, we’ll do all the legwork for your loan application, while you kick back & avoid the hassle.
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The history of Reverse Mortgage loans in Australia
Reverse Mortgages have been available in Australia since the early 1990’s. The Advance Bank was the first lender to offer a true Reverse Mortgage Loan (as opposed to a line of credit), but the product was only mildly popular due to limited demographic demand of the times.
When St George Bank took over Advance bank in 1998 it inherited their Reverse Mortgage loan product and this has since developed into the Senior’s Access Home Loan they continue to offer today.
Around 2001 the Commonwealth Bank entered the Reverse Mortgage market with the release of what is now known as ‘Equity Unlock For Seniors’.
From 2002 there was a period of steep growth in the Australian Reverse Mortgage market.
In 2004 the early product providers established ‘The Senior Australians Equity Release Association of Lenders’ (SEQUAL), as an industry body to represent their interests. SEQUAL established a code of conduct and an infrastructure of self-regulation which was very effective in protecting sometimes vulnerable pensioners and elderly borrowers.
Over the next few years a stream of new lenders emerged in anticipation of the retirement funding shortfall projected for the coming generation of retiring baby boomers.
By 2006 there were more than twenty banks, credit unions and non-bank lenders offering Reverse Mortgage loans including Macquarie, Bankwest, ABN Amro, Bluestone, Australian Senior’s Finance (ASF) and Over Fifty Group.
(This dizzying array of product choice had a ‘bewildering’ effect on pensioners, creating a demand for specialist Reverse Mortgage brokers who understand the needs of senior consumers.)
It was during this period that brokers accounted for 50 per cent of all Reverse Mortgages originated in Australia, and that Seniors First grew to attain almost 5 per cent of that market share).
By 2008 some 40,000 Australian pensioners and self-funded retirees had taken a Reverse Mortgage loan, double from 20,000 just three years earlier.
Further exponential growth was predicted when the global financial crisis (GFC) struck, seizing up the capital markets that non-bank lenders in particular relied upon for funding.
Although no lenders went broker or collapsed, the GFC funding crisis was unsustainable for all but the largest of the domestic banks, and fifteen Reverse Mortgage lenders closed or stopped offering new Reverse Mortgages between 2008 and 2010. At the low point of the cycle, just four banks remained as viable Reverse Mortgage options to Australian senior
In 2011, the Federal Government under then minister Bill Shorten, officially regulated Reverse Mortgages as part of the ‘second phase’ of the National Consumer Credit Protection (NCCP) code. This law improved disclosure requirements by lenders and brokers, and enshrined in legislation key components of SEQUAL code of conduct such as the ‘No Negative Equity Guarantee.’
By 2014 the Reverse Mortgage market had begun to show signs of growth once again. Several lenders re-emerged to be active with new lending, and there are rumours other lenders will soon offer exciting new Reverse Mortgage loans for pensioners and retirees. In anticipation of this, Seniors First – Australia’s leading Reverse Mortgage broker – has re-launched.
The big banks withdraw their products from the Reverse Mortgage market. Although Commonwealth Bank (CBA), St George, and Bankwest continue to service existing borrowers, all stop offering new Reverse Mortgage loans. This creates opportunity for new non-bank Reverse Mortgage lenders to enter the market.
ASIC conducts a thorough review of the Australian Reverse Mortgage industry. It audited lender files and conducted interviews with thirty Reverse Mortgage borrowers. It found that borrowers reported an overwhelmingly positive experience of their Reverse Mortgage loans, and that the regulatory compliance of lenders and brokers was generally sound.
The Federal Government announces plans to expand the Pension Loans Scheme (PLS). Although it’s often referred to as ‘the government Reverse Mortgage’, it is in fact a limited form of entitlement that acts as a top up to the aged pension.
Treasury releases its long-awaited Retirement Income Review. It finds the equity that retirees accrue in the family home is the most important component of voluntary retirement savings. It concludes that “we need to help Australians understand how they can significantly make the best use of their retirement savings, including the equity in their homes". This means making use of all forms of equity release such downsizing, Reverse Mortgages, home equity loans, and home reversion schemes.
In response substantial nationwide increases in property values, both lenders and brokers in the reverse mortgage market experience a new peak of demand as Reverse Mortgages surge in popularity.
The Federal Government enacts its ‘Best Interest Duty’ (BID) legislation. This is an extra layer regulation that applies to mortgage brokers (but not to banks and lenders). Only Reverse Mortgages originated via a mortgage broker such as Seniors First offer this higher level of consumer protection.