The latest Reverse Market Insight (RMI) for December 2019 revealed that Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) endorsements fell by 13.6% to a total of 2,456 loans.
The report, published by Reverse Mortgage Daily, said the fall was led by the wholesale endorsement segment of the business, which fell 21.1% for the month. Wholesale levels recorded a smaller decline of 8.5%.
Year-over-year HECM endorsements fell more than 20% in 2019 compared to 2018.
“HECM endorsements dropped again in December, finishing the year at 32,448 loans. That’s a decline of -22.2% from 2018, but that really does skew perception given that 2018 endorsements were inflated by 2017 fundings leaking into the first few months of 2018,” RMI President John Lund said. “Suffice to say that most everyone we’ve talked to in the industry lately was in much better spirits than a year ago.”
Reverse Mortgage Funding led the way in gains, increasing 45.1% to 368 loans. HighTechLending followed with a gain of 44.9%.
A recent report by Reverse Mortgage Daily chronicled the differing viewpoints of presidential candidates on the HECM program and reverse mortgages.
Since taking office in January of 2017, the Donald Trump administration has impacted the reverse mortgage industry in several ways.
Dr. Benjamin Carson, Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced in August 2017 that HUD planned to increase premiums and tighten lending limits on reverse mortgages due to concerns about the strength of the program and taxpayer losses to the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund.
Those changes went into effect on October 2, 2017.
Former Vice President Joe Biden released his $640 billion housing plan last month. Within it, Biden outlined his plan to expand access to supporting housing and services for the elderly and those with disabilities.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg debuted a proposed retirement policy plan that highlights the importance of leveraging home equity for older Americans. He suggests that government oversight of reverse mortgage products should be strengthened.
While Bernie Sanders was in the Senate during the time of the Reverse Mortgage Stabilization Act of 2013 along with Warren, he has not spoken directly on the topic of reverse mortgages and home equity.
Elizabeth Warren’s direct reference to reverse mortgages and the HECM program has been limited, but Reverse Mortgage Daily says she has had an impact on the industry since her advocacy and academic efforts led to the establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in 2011.