Reverse mortgage endorsements soared 142.7% in February, closing out the month with 4,002 loans, according to the latest data from Reverse Market Insight.

But don’t be fooled – it’s not the recovery of the industry’s dreams, rather a likely result of catch-up after the 35-day government shutdown ground HECM endorsements to a halt.

To offset the effects of the shutdown, RMI took a look at the industry’s average for the last three months, comparing this with the average of three months prior. It found that overall, volume declined 13.2%.

Still, it’s better than the 31% plunge the market saw at the end of 2018, and it could be a sign that the industry is finding a new normal after taking a beating in the last year, hitting lows it hasn’t seen in 14 years.

“It’s good to bring the average up for the last three months in total (2,467 loans) to something closer to the new normal rather than nuclear winter levels of the last 2 months in isolation,” RMI wrote.

Regionally, the Great Plains saw the greatest gains with the Rocky Mountains and the Southwest also showing huge surges in volume, RMI noted.

Among the top 10 HECM lenders, HighTechLending had the best performance, increasing its three-month average 2.6% compared with its endorsement totals from September through November 2018.

Six of the top 10 outperformed the industry’s overall 13.2% decline when looking at their three-month average.