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A New Normal for HECM Loans

UnderwritingThe origination of Home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) loans fell 5.6% in June according to the latest data from Reverse Mortgage Insight [1]s (RMI).

The data indicated that the fall, which put HECM endorsements within the range of 2,500 endorsements per month again, could indicate the new "default setting for the industry right now." Overall, 2,546 HECM endorsements were recorded in June 2019.

Breaking up the endorsements by region, RMI indicated that "some regions looked better than the others." New England saw the highest increase with HECM endorsements jumping 23.9% to 109 loans. Despite loans in Seattle and Portland being down 40% compared to the same time last year, HECM endorsements in the Northwest/Alaska region recorded a 16.5% gain with 212 loans originated during the month. the Pacific/Hawaii region also increased by 7.2% to 791 loans in June.

The regions that saw a month-over-month decline included Southeast/Carribean, Southwest, Rocky Mountain, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, New York/New Jersey, and the Great Plains.

However, RMI indicated that all regions had seen a dip compared to the same period last year, with the Northwest/Alaska region and Great Plains recording the maximum volume decrease of 41.2% and 40.6% respectively. HECM volumes in the Midwest declined 39.3%, followed by a decline in the Pacific Hawaii region and Southwest at around 37%; Mid-Atlantic, New England and Southeast/Caribbean at approximately 32%; and New York/New Jersey and the Rocky Mountain region at 29.2%.

Among FHA approved HECM lenders that are tracked by RMI, the data indicated that despite an overall downward movement, three lenders saw a solid performance in June. They included High Tech Lending which increased its HECM originations by 68.6% to 59 loans; Fairway, which saw a 40% uptick with 98 loans; and FAR which grew 21.6% to 214 loans during the period.

Endorsements by the top 10 HECM lenders consisted of 1,905 loans of the total 2,546 loans endorsed in June.