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Reverse Mortgage Volume is Tanking, But These Markets Are Staying Afloat

As the saying goes: April showers bring May Flowers. But with reverse mortgage volume dipping to one of its lowest monthly totals in recent memory last month, May was anything but rosy for endorsements—at least for some markets across the country.

Dragged down by a unanimous decline across all regions, endorsements of Home Equity Conversion Mortgages fell 14.1% in May to 3,646 loans—the lowest single-month total since August 2014, according to the most recent industry data tracked by Reverse Market Insight.

Compared to all other regions, the Great Plains saw the biggest monthly decrease in volume, dropping 37.2% in May to just 71 loans. Through the first five months of 2016, the region totals 479 units, which is 11.6% less than its year-ago total of 541 loans.

On a year-to-date basis, St. Louis was the only market within the Great Plains region to report endorsement growth. At 114 loans through the first five months of the year, volume in St. Louis is up 5.6% compared to its year-ago total of 108 loans.

The Rocky Mountain region saw the largest year-to-date increase in reverse mortgage volume compared to last year, with 1,333 total units through May, an increase of 23.9% compared to the same period in 2015.

Bolstered by year-to-date growth in nearly all of its participating markets, the Rocky Mountain area was led by its largest metro Denver, whose 765 units through May represents a 45.4% increase from its year-ago total. Fargo, N.D., also experienced significant growth with a total of 25 loans year-to-date, a growth of 56.3% from its 2015 level.

The Northwest/Alaska once again entered the ranks among the growing regions for endorsement volume. Through May, the region reported 1,178 loans, up 22.7% from the comparable period in 2015. The region’s largest markets, Seattle and Portland, Ore., continued to lead the way with 507 and 423 loans, respectively, representing YTD growth of 30% and 32.6%.

As for the industry’s largest producer by volume, the Pacific/Hawaii, reports 4,821 total units through May, putting its year-to-date total 7.2% higher than where it was at this time last year.

Only two markets, Las Vegas and Tucson, reported YTD declines—13.4% and 15.7%, respectively—but it was several of the middle market cities that helped propel the region’s growth.

Reno continued its YTD growth for another month. At 125 loans, The Biggest Little City in the World is is currently reporting volume 43.7% higher than its year-ago total of just 87 loans through the first five months of 2015. Through April, Reno’s endorsement volume was up 52.1% on a YTD basis.

Joining Reno in bolstering the Pacific/Hawaii region was Sacramento, which reported 585 loans through May, an increase of 38.3% from last year; and Fresno, Calif., whose 266 loans represents an increase of 22.6% from 2015.

See where other markets stack up through May.

Written by Jason Oliva