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Number of Reverse Mortgage Originators Swells by 23%

The number of active Home Equity Conversion Mortgage originators has increased by 23.8% from this time in 2016, as overall endorsement levels continue to outpace previous years.

Reverse Market Insight counted 759 active reverse mortgage originators in May 2017, or 146 more than the total number of participants back in May 2016. That’s significant growth, especially considering that the number of active originators declined between 2015 and 2016 by about 4.2%.

The trend comes amid more good news from the Dana Point, Calif.-based research firm’s most recent report: Originators have seen 24,237 endorsements through the first five months of 2017, 16.1% more than the total through the end of May 2016. The 2017 total is also riding higher than 2014 and 2015, according to RMI’s analysis, “which leaves 2013 and the volume levels last seen before both initial draw limitations and financial assessment were enacted.”

However, RMI also pointed out that the year-to-date total is also higher than the number recorded through the end of May 2012.

“It’s fair to say the industry’s origination volume is healthier than it’s been in several years, but still less than half the peak volumes of almost a decade ago,” RMI noted.

John Lunde, RMI’s president, speculated that some of the increase in originator volume could be coming from a stagnation in “forward” mortgage rates, which results in a slower refinance market.

“That forces forward originators to look around for a new volume source, and some of them end up in reverse,” Lunde told RMD in an e-mail. “It’s also generally true that as volume increases in reverse, more originators come into play, and vice versa.”

RMI’s data also shows the continued domination of Colorado and the Pacific Northwest in HECM growth stats: Endorsements in Colorado have seen a year-to-date increase of 73.7%, with Washington state turning in a 45.6% gain and Oregon following with 39.2%. The Denver metropolitan area registered a 42.1% gain from this time in 2016, edging out Las Vegas and its 40.8% rise.

Check out RMI’s full data set here.

Written by Alex Spanko