The year 2014 started strong for reverse mortgage endorsements, with volume up 19.8% in January to its highest total since last August, according to Reverse Market Insight.
January volume reached 5,061 loans, despite recent RMI speculation that it would dip in the beginning of 2014, the data and analytics firm said in its latest HECM Lenders newsletter.
“Based on the funding volumes we’ve been seeing, I’m still expecting to see declines in endorsements in February and March at minimum, as we’ve already seen the September 2013 changes significantly impacting application and funding counts in the fourth quarter that should show up in endorsements in the first quarter and beyond,” John Lunde, president of RMI, told RMD.
For the early boost, it’s possible lenders were hustling to get endorsements for loans funded under the old rules, he says, since there wasn’t a big surge of fundings to end 2013. While October showed “decent” funding volumes, activity was down in both November and December.
The Pacific/Hawaii and New England regions logged the biggest monthly endorsement volume gains, up 27% and 59%, respectively. Volume rose across the nation with the exception of the Rocky Mountain region, down 14 loans, RMI notes.
However, on a yearly basis compared to January 2013, volume trended downward by 2.5%, with only three of 10 regions notching gains.
Still, those three saw significant upticks in volume. Pacific/Hawaii rose 62% for the region’s highest monthly volume since March 2011, according to RMI. San Diego was up 126% and Las Vegas notched a 117% gain. The increases are likely driven by stronger housing recoveries in San Diego and Vegas, Lunde tells RMD.
On the other end of the spectrum, RMI notes, the Southeast/Caribbean dropped 23%.
Reverse mortgage lenders that had a good January include High Tech Lending, whose volume more than doubled to grab the #10 spot; Associated Mortgage Bankers, up 78% for eighth place; and Urban Financial, ranking fifth after a 55% gain.
The other top five lenders year-to-date are Security One, American Advisor Group, One Reverse Mortgage, and Generation Mortgage.
View the HECM Lenders Industry Overview for January 2014.
Written by Alyssa Gerace