Recovering home values are helping U.S. seniors, whose home-equity levels are at the highest level since mid-2009, according to a report from the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association. The group, along with the RiskSpan Reverse Mortgage Market Index, looked at home-equity data for people 62 and older. "Tapping into that equity is one option to help fund living expenses, home maintenance costs or health care needs in retirement," said Peter Bell, the reverse-mortgage group's president.

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