Reverse Mortgages See Strong Start to 2013, Top Lenders Drive Volume

On the heels of continued declines, reverse mortgage volume finally saw a substantial uptick in January, counting an increase of more than 30% during the month.

With the majority of top-10 lenders reporting strong gains, Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) endorsements tracked by the Department of Housing and Urban Development saw a gain of 32.6% in January over December 2012, according to the latest report from Reverse Market Insight (RMI).

The 5,189 endorsements for the month of January is the highest monthly volume since February 2012, notes RMI. Though the rise might be a result of previous month’s depressed volumes finally turning around, the increase offers a positive start for 2013, with lender starting to see sales improvements.

Adding to this positivity, seven of the top eight lenders experienced sizable monthly increases including double-digit gains.

Formerly known as Genworth Financial Home Equity Access, Liberty Home Equity Solutions posted a 33% gain in January. Holding down the No. 2 spot for the past 12 months, Liberty topped the list for January, rising 191 endorsements to a total of 764 year-to-date.

Reporting the second most endorsements year-to-date at 646, Security One Lending rose 53% from its December volume of 421.

Additionally, all 10 regions reported endorsement increases for the month, with Southeast/Caribbean (1,192) and Rocky Mountain (263) posting 12-month highs, growing 36% and 32% in January, respectively.

Although January’s numbers offer up some optimism to start 2013, RMI President John Lunde believes the prospects for continued growth will rely on further changes to the Federal Housing Administration’s HECM for tax and insurance set asides and or financial assessment.

While January appears to be a positive start to the year, RMI President John Lunde believes growth prospects for 2013 will hinge on further changes from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

“We saw applications for November come in at a solid level, but still just cautiously optimistic for 2013 being higher than 2012 calendar year,” said Lunde. “[The] real determinant of that is the timing and details of any further FHA changes to HECM for [tax & insurance] set asides and/or financial assessment.”

Written by Jason Oliva

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