Reverse Mortgages in the Southeast

From Virginia down to the Florida Keys, the Southeastern region of the United States has deep cultural roots – as well as some of the nation’s most eclectic attractions. The Southeast region consists of Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.

From historic cities such as Williamsburg, Savannah, and Charleston, to music capitals such as Nashville and Memphis, to the jazz and Cajun culture of New Orleans, to Florida’s highly visited theme parks and expansive Everglades region, the Southeast truly offers something for everyone. In fact, 25% of the nation’s total population call the Southeast ‘home.’ With a population of over 85 million1, the region is popular for Americans of all ages – including retirees.

State/TerritoryTotal PopulationPercentage of population ages 65+
Georgia10,799,56614.3%
Louisiana4,624,04715.9%
Virginia8,642,27415.9%
Mississippi2,949,96516.4%
Tennessee6,975,21816.7%
North Carolina10,551,16216.7%
Kentucky4,509,39416.8%
Alabama5,039,87717.3%
Arkansas3,025,89117.4%
South Carolina5,190,70518.2%
West Virginia1,782,95920.5%
Florida21,781,12820.9%
 Total = 85,872,186Average = 17.3%

Data: U.S. Census Bureau

Speaking of retirees, the Southeast’s large population of seniors ages 65+ is the second largest in the nation at 17.3%1, only behind that of the Northeast. With the “aging in place” movement gaining momentum, today’s retirees are increasingly opting to stay in their homes across the Southeast. With the Southern culture of hospitality, a warmer climate, and close proximity to some of the nation’s most impressive beaches along the Atlantic coastline, the Southeast is especially inviting and conducive for aging Americans. But regardless of how you choose to spend retirement in the Southeast, it’s no secret that the region’s sights and attractions come with a price tag.

For retirees in the Northeast, retirement could mean adjusting to a decreased or fixed income. For retirees adjusting to a fixed or decreased income in the Southeast, this lifestyle could pose some financial challenges. Fortunately, for many, there is an untapped source of wealth that could provide an additional source of cash flow – right in their homes.

Home Equity in the Southeast

Across the country, senior homeowners ages 62 and older now account for $10.6 trillion in home equity2 – the highest amount recorded. And for the average 65-year-old couple, this home equity represents more than two-thirds of total wealth3. So how can homeowners in the Southeast tap into this wealth? A Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) – also known as a reverse mortgage – allows homeowners over the age of 62 to convert a portion of their home’s equity into cash to supplement retirement income4. With a reverse mortgage, you can continue to live in your home – while maintaining full title and ownership. And with no monthly mortgage payments required5, you’ll free up even more cash each month – an average of $1,194 in the Southeast6.

Can I Get a Reverse Mortgage in My State?

If you are at least 62 years of age and live in the Southeast region, the answer is YES. Reverse mortgages are available to homeowners in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.

How Much Money Can Retirees in the Southeast Get with a Reverse Mortgage?

While there are several variables that account for how much home equity you can access, perhaps the most significant is your home value. The “principal limit” or amount of proceeds you can access, also depend on age, type of reverse mortgage loan, and current interest rates. And for those who live in the Southeast, where home values are among the nation’s lowest7, you may be surprised to see just how much equity you have in your home.

Average Home Values: 2022
West Virginia $130,625
Mississippi $159,955
Arkansas $172,306
Kentucky $190,575
Alabama $197,667
Louisiana $208,049
South Carolina $274,401
Tennessee $282,592
Georgia $300,885
North Carolina $302,153
Virginia $362,171
Florida $367,175
  Average = $245,712

Zillow Home Value Index, Data as of March 2022

How Retirees in the Southeast Can Use Reverse Mortgage Funds

The Southeast region is known for its hospitality – including at home. From Southern style Plantation homes to traditional two-story abodes, and even European-inspired Victorian and Colonial models, the Southeast’s rich history is evident in its various home styles. But just like us, our homes age over time. And your Southern dream home of 20, 30, or even 40 years ago may be in need of some TLC – especially if you’re part of the over 90% of senior homeowners wishing to age in place8. Fortunately, tapping into home equity with a reverse mortgage can provide the financial means to make necessary modifications and updates to your home. You can read more about proactive home projects for aging in place, here. But that’s not the only way retirees are leveraging reverse mortgage funds. Some other common use cases include:

  • Paying off bills, credit cards, and other debts. After all, who couldn’t use some extra money for everyday expenses?!
  • Getting ahead of surging healthcare costs; with the average 65-year-old couple needing $315,000 (after tax) saved9, according to Fidelity.
  • Establishing a growing line of credit for the future. Unexpected expenses happen – and this financial “safety net” can help you prepare for them, not to mention the peace of mind that comes with it.
  • Assist a family member or loved one. Whether it be a wedding, down payments on a home, or college tuition, reverse mortgage funds can help cover these significant expenses.

One of the most common questions we get is, “How can I use money from a reverse mortgage?” And the answer is simple – however you wish. The equity built up in your home belongs to you, and as such, funds can be used however you see best fit.

This flexibility is just one of the factors that make reverse mortgages a popular financing alternative for seniors, when compared to other offerings. When compared to a traditional Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), a reverse mortgage boasts a comparable rate, but greater stability. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, HELOC applications and originations were frozen or suspended by several banks and lenders. Even during these challenging times, reverse mortgages remained available to retirees – truly demonstrating the staying power of this financial tool.

And one could argue that seniors in the Southeast noticed. Just take a look at how many reverse mortgage loans were closed by state10 in 2021:

Reverse Mortgages in 2021
West Virginia72
Mississippi110
Kentucky158
Arkansas159
Louisiana257
Alabama290
South Carolina547
Tennessee784
Virginia824
Georgia1,010
North Carolina1,064
Florida4,347
 Total = 9,622

Data: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Funding Your Retirement in the Southeast

From mild winters to a lower cost of living, to close proximity to both the beach and the mountains, and no shortage of charming cities to explore, there are plenty of reasons to call the Southeast home. And if you could use some additional cash flow to fund your retirement lifestyle in the Southeast, a reverse mortgage could be a viable solution.

At Longbridge Financial, we specialize exclusively in reverse mortgages – and our primary goal is to give you peace of mind about your finances. Our team of Loan Officers and Reverse Mortgage Consultants are experts in the business and are committed to recommending the reverse mortgage program only once certain that the program is right for you and your unique needs. We’ll get to know you, your goals, your home, and your finances, as we explore your options.

What’s more, we’re an FHA approved lender, and our loan program is insured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). And as a proud member of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA), we proudly adhere and subscribe to its Code of Ethics.

Want to see how much equity you could tap into with a reverse mortgage? We’re here to help. For more information, fill out the form on this page to receive a free information kit, or contact the Longbridge team of experts today.

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