Reverse mortgage volume plummeted a staggering 31.4% in December, closing out the month with just 1,749 loans and ending the year on a rather sour note.
A new report from Reverse Market Insight breaks down the numbers, revealing that wholesale endorsements suffered the greatest loss with a 34.4% dip in volume as the channel closed just 674 loans.
Retail was not far behind with a 29.4% drop. Retail loan officers closed 1,075 loans in December – just over one-third of the volume this channel saw in January 2018.
RMI noted that the “carnage was widespread,” as all but one of the top 10 HECM lenders witnessed a decline in December.
Cherry Creek Mortgage Company was hit the hardest with a 46.2% loss in volume, followed by One Reverse Mortgage with a 41.7% drop and Finance of America Reverse at a 36.6% drop.
Liberty Home Equity Solutions was the only top 10 lender to eke out a gain, ending the month up 8.3%.
Year-to-date growth for all top 10 lenders was down with the exception of Fairway Independent Mortgage, which posted a 20.5% gain.
Other bright spots among the steep declines: Resolute Bank closed 16 loans in December, ending the month up 60%, while Integrity 1st Mortgage closed nine loans to end the year up 80%.
While the numbers are staggeringly low for most industry players, RMI President John Lunde said he does foresee a rebound – eventually.
“It will be another tough year,” he predicted. “I think we've already started to climb out of the hole barring any further shocks to the system, but it's just a really slow climb.”