After a sluggish start to 2016, where reverse mortgage endorsements began the new year at an 8% lag behind the previous month, February’s numbers may be an indication that future growth is on the way.
Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) endorsements grew 17.7% in February to 4,579 loans, putting January’s disappointing results in the rear view mirror, according to the latest industry data tracked by Reverse Market Insight (RMI).
February marks the highest single-month of HECM endorsement since 4,671 units in September 2015, which on the reverse mortgage roller coaster, began the descent of plummeting volume following the June-through-August highs inflated by the Financial Assessment.
“Endorsements have been lumpier than usual, but we’ve seen good signs in recent application volumes and counseling sessions pointing to further recovery growth ahead,” RMI President John Lunde told RMD. “Unfortunately, we’re still at pretty low levels, but at least the industry is on its way back up the growth curve after the Financial Assessment.”
February’s growth was nearly an all-out effort among the top-10 regions tracked by RMI, with all areas reporting endorsement gains during the month, except for the Mid-Atlantic, which saw volume fall 9.7% to 290 units.
As always, the Pacific/Hawaii region led the way with the highest unit count at 1,321 loans in February. But pulling out the biggest growth during the month was the Northwest/Alaska region, which reported a 46.8% increase from January’s 190 loans to 279 in February.
The Southwest also had a good showing, seeing its reverse mortgage volume rise 35% to 567 loans. Rounding out the top-three regions for growth was the Rocky Mountain territory, which produced 315 units in February, an increase of 30.7% from its previous month’s total.
February’s growth pattern was similar amongst the industry’s top-10 lenders, the vast majority of which reported increases during the month.
After several months of depressed volume, Liberty Home Equity Solutions continued its growth streak with 490 loans in February, a 68.4% gain from January’s 291 units, which was 273% higher than December’s total of 78 units.
Reverse Mortgage Funding also had a good February, reporting 190 loans, a growth of 16.5% from the previous month. In terms of growth, RMF was followed closely by One Reverse Mortgage, which saw its HECM endorsements rise 15% to 330 loans—second-highest overall in terms of unit count.
Meanwhile, Home Point Financial Corporation and Live Well Financial, Inc. reported lower endorsement counts in February compared to the previous month, each seeing its volume dip 20% and 13.3%, respectively.
View the latest RMI report to see where other reverse mortgage lenders ranked in February.
Written by Jason Oliva