Reverse Mortgage Endorsements Up in West, Down Everywhere Else

Despite some impressive numbers from several Western states, year-to-date reverse mortgage endorsements lagged nationwide and in several key regions, according to new data from Reverse Market Insight, Inc. released Wednesday.

Lenders logged under 49,000 home equity conversion mortgage endorsements in 2016, according to RMI — a drop of 13.5% from the more than 56,000 recorded in 2015. While the state of California led the way with 11,069 — dwarfing second-place Florida’s 4,273 — that number represents a 4.4% miss from the previous year. Of RMI’s top-10 states by unit volume, New Jersey suffered the steepest drop from 2015’s total, finishing 2016 with 34.0% fewer new endorsements.

The Western and Sun Belt states continued to shine through the nationwide darkness, with Colorado turning in a 33.8% improvement from 2015 and the city of Denver seeing a 39.3% uptick. Originators in Washington state also saw modest growth of 6.3% in 2016; on the city level, Houston and Austin, Texas achieved gains of 5.2% and 18.7%, respectively. 


John K. Lunde, RMI’s president, said the regional growth in HECM endorsements was tied closely with home prices, noting that activity historically rises in areas where prices are on the upswing. The recent November 2016 Case-Schiller National Home Price Index backs up this observation: Seattle, Portland, and Denver turned in the highest year-over-year gains among the cities in includes.

The Dana Point, Calif.-based RMI also breaks down endorsements by county: Of the top 10 counties by pure HECM volume, only Maricopa County, Ariz.; Orange County, Calif.; and Harris County, Texas saw gains from last year.

Bucking the geographic trends was Toms River, N.J.; the South Jersey town’s ZIP code of 08757 saw the largest growth of any ZIP in the nation, with 47.2% more HECMs — a total of 53 — issued.

Written by Alex Spanko


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  • As normal California carries the endorsement volume load for the nation. While California has the largest population of any state in the nation, 44 states have a larger percentage of their population who are seniors. Among the states, Florida, of course, is first in the percentage of its population who are seniors.

    The correlation between rising home values and the rise in endorsements is both mixed and weak. Home prices in most areas of the country are significantly higher than they were in 2009 which was the peak for HECM endorsements but calendar year is the lowest number of endorsements in more than a decade.

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