Top Cities for Reverse Mortgage Volume in 2015

December’s 5% volume bump pushed the reverse mortgage industry just north of 56,000 units in 2015, fueled by sizable gains among the year’s top-producing cities.

Increases in Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) endorsements across six of the 10 regions tracked by Reverse Market Insight (RMI) propelled total industry volume 6.6% higher in 2015 compared to 2014.

Leading the way were the Pacific/Hawaii (14,380) and Rocky Mountain  (2,919) regions, which saw their year-to-date (YTD) 2015 HECM endorsements grow 22.9% and 19.4%, respectively, over their previous full-year tally in 2014.

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The volume powerhouse that is the Pacific/Hawaii region was fueled by near-unanimous YTD growth among its cities, the only exception being Honolulu, which only produced one less unit in 2015 than 2014 (187 vs. 188).

But leading the pack in terms of YTD growth was Reno, whose 237 loans in 2015 represents an increase of 37%—the highest among all cities tracked by RMI. The Biggest Little City in the World also saw a 4.3% increase in its active lenders for 2015 to 24 total lenders.

While Los Angeles commanded the largest total number of HECM endorsements for the region at 3,497 units, up 25.6% from YTD 2014, the city ranked fourth in the region in terms of growth behind Fresno, whose 552 loans were 27.2% higher than 2014 levels, and Santa Ana’s 26% gain to 2,760 units in 2015.

Posting the second-highest growth rate in 2015, Orlando saw its total HECM endorsements rise 35.1% to 900 units.

The greater Southeast/Caribbean region, which ranked second in terms of volume in 2015 at 11,491 total units, grew 8.6% during the year. The region saw big gains from Tampa (32.2%), Jacksonville, Fla. (25.1%) and leader Miami (21.3%), as well as double-digit growth from Atlanta (10.6%) and Columbia, S.C. (10%).

Ranking second for growth in 2015, the Rocky Mountain region saw its endorsement production carried by Denver, which increased 34% during the year to 1,495 loans.

Also contributing to 2015’s volume performance, the Northwest/Alaska region reported an increase of 18.1%. Each of the five cities tracked within this region reported year-to-date increases in their endorsement volumes, with Portland, Ore. seeing the largest increase at 22.1% to finish 2015 with 868 units.

To see how other cities performed in 2015, check out the latest Reverse Market Insight data.

Written by Jason Oliva

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  • In this era of almost instantaneous data reporting, this is somewhat helpful information even though it is quite old. The vast majority of the applications related to these endorsements received their case numbers between September 1, 2014 and August 31, 2015 based on the four month rule of thumb lag for the average HECM to go from case number assignment to endorsement. Trends as of 8/31/2015 may now be misleading due to its age when used for marketing purposes.

    It was hoped that the repository would be sufficiently reliable that this type of trend information would be far more timely. Until there is a way to ensure completeness of data and that data can be verified in a timely manner, we will have to accept FHA data as the only reliable data our industry should be using for this purpose. Perhaps there should be an effort to determine how reliable repository information is in relation to FHA data. If that work is going on, the majority of the industry is in the dark about it and particularly its results; perhaps the last point is why we are in the dark, i.e., it has been proven to be significantly unreliable. (There has been inklings that such work is going on especially with comments from RMI that endorsement trends have not followed repository closed loan trends.)

    But let us not take away from seeing large cities in Florida actually looking like they have large numbers of seniors residing in them. Yet these increases do not begin to show just how much greater the proportionate percentage of seniors who reside in those Florida cities is in comparison to a place like Los Angeles, California where the move out rate of seniors is still much greater than the rate of seniors moving in.

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