Reverse mortgages to leap forward

Reverse mortgages are likely to become increasingly popular, providing up to $400 billion in untapped equity for Australians' retirement income, Datamonitor says. The report also says that banks and other lending institutions will need to improve the image of these loans through marketing campaigns and increased safeguards. In 2003 about 5,000 reverse mortgages were provided, mainly by the Commonwealth Bank and St George. Financial services analyst Alex Boorman says that most of the problems with early reverse mortgages, such as excessive interest consuming property values – or negative equity – have been removed.