Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) endorsements dropped by 35.7 percent in March 2019, down to 2,573 loans. In their report, Reverse Mortgage Insight (RMI) stated “That is certainly a lot, but is actually very close to the average for December through February we discussed last month as a way of reducing the noise of the government shutdown shifting volume between those months. Now that we finally have a clean month it looks like the last five months on average have all been right around this month’s level.”
By region, the Pacific/Hawaii region saw the smallest drop, down 18.6 percent, or 783 loans. RMI notes that this region was still up 15.7 percent from the December through February average. The Southwest had the biggest drop, but still came out 10.1 percent higher than the December through February average.
DS News reported earlier that, according to LendingTree and data from the Federal Housing Authority’s HECM program, HECMs originated in the 100 studied cities at an average rate of 7.1 loans per 1,000 homeowners over the age of 60 between 2012 and 2017. The top city, Virginia Beach, boasted a rate of 13.8 loans per 1,000 homeowners over the age of 60.
Government-back loans as a whole have seen a resurgence. Kroll Bond Ratings Agency reported 63 percent increase in residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) issued in 2018 over 2017. The report indicated that if the U.S. GDP was to grow at the steady pace it has this year, until July 2019, the year could see "another robust issuance year in 2019." However, factors such as higher interest rates, home price moderation, and widening spreads that have been experienced by the market in the last few weeks are likely headwinds that might pull down the performance of RMBS next year, the report revealed.
"Given the potential downside risks, we aren’t forecasting issuance growth in 2019, but believe issuance will be comparable to 2018 levels," KBRA stated in the outlook.