Copyright: Ho, Tin Long
Copyright: Ho, Tin Long
Housing wealth is typically the largest component of retirees’ portfolios. Although economic theory predicts that retirees would benefit from using housing wealth as a source of retirement funding, the take-up of enabling products and approaches is low. This thesis addresses three key areas in the utilization of housing wealth in retirement: (i) identification of the preferred home equity release approach for different types of households; (ii) exploration of means to address behavioral impediments to the utilization of housing wealth through equity release products; (iii) investigation of potential demand for long-term care insurance (LTCI) financed through home equity release. Chapter 3 investigates the preferred home equity release approach for retirement, given available options (i.e., downsizing, reverse mortgages, the government-offered Pension Loans Scheme, and home reversion–type schemes) and reflects the current tax, superannuation, and age pension rules in Australia. We use state-of-the-art economic and actuarial modeling to identify the preferred approach for the use of housing wealth by Australian retirees with different marital status, wealth portfolios, and preferences. Chapter 4 uses an online experimental survey administered to a representative sample of Australian (pre-)retiree homeowners to explore whether information framing to address mental accounting and narrow choice bracketing can enhance the demand for reverse mortgages. The information framing to address mental accounting significantly increases the stated demand for reverse mortgages. Chapter 5 presents the results of an online experimental survey administered to a representative sample of Chinese (pre-)retiree homeowners to investigate the demand for LTCI financed through home equity release. We find that access to home equity release products significantly increases the stated demand for LTCI and that the preferred approach is to use a reverse mortgage. Overall, the findings in this thesis confirm that retirees would benefit from using housing wealth to finance retirement. The results also identify approaches to reduce the gap between theoretical and actual demand for home equity release products. The findings provide evidence that government and private providers can use to address barriers to increasing interest in and take-up of home equity release products and to develop new products to enhance the utilization of housing wealth in retirement.