A new report identifies the best U.S. markets for home-equity conversion mortgage originations.
Nationally, 109,985 reverse loans closed during the 12 months ended May 2008, according to Data Analytics Series: Reverse Sales Management provided to MortgageDaily.com by RMI.
Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based RMI said it constructs customized sales management tools enabling lenders to identify the best reverse mortgage opportunities at a micro level. RMI noted it can provide reverse mortgage data at the zip code level.
The state with the most HECMs closed was Florida, which had 18,914 units, RMI indicated. California followed, with 17,180 units, then Texas, at 6,331. Arizona was No. 4, at 4,504 units, and No. 5 was New York, with 4,252.
Other states included in the top 10 included Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan and Maryland.
Among local markets, Miami saw the most activity for the 12 months ended May 31, 2008, with 8,741 units closed, RMI said. Santa Ana, Calif., which had 4,435 units, was next, then Los Angeles, at 4,204 units. No. 4 was Tampa, Fla., where 3,909 reverse loans were closed, and No. 5 was Phoenix, which had 3,830.
Orlando, Fla.; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Sacramento, Calif.; and Boston accounted for spots No. 5 through No. 10.
Across the country, reverse mortgage volume increased 10 percent from the 12 months ended May 2007, the report said.
Arkansas, which saw HECM volume double to 598 from 2007 to 2008, had the highest increase of any state. Utah was up 95 percent to 1,462 units, while Louisiana increased 84 percent to 707 loans. Alabama followed, increasing 59 percent to 787 units, then Delaware, which was up 57 percent to 460 units.
The biggest decline was seen in California, where reverse activity was down 25 percent. Massachusetts saw a 9 percent decline to 2,827 units, while Wyoming was off 7 percent to 128 loans. Reverse mortgage volume in Minnesota fell 6 percent to 1,178 units, and the number of units closed in New Hampshire was also down 6 percent to 491 loans.
The New Orleans market was the strongest of any market, increasing 115 percent from 2007 to 541 units during 2008. Little Rock, Ark., saw its reverse activity double to 598 units, and volume in Salt Lake City increased 95 percent to 1,462 units. Memphis, Tenn., had the fourth highest increase, at 68 percent to 304 units, while Birmingham, Ala., followed with a 59 percent increase to 787 loans.
The five cities with the biggest declines were all in California.
San Francisco was down 34 percent to 2,087 units, Los Angeles was down 29 percent, San Diego declined 25 percent to 1,266 loans, Santa Ana was off 24 percent and Fresno fell 17 percent to 2,169 units.
RMI noted that the number of active reverse mortgage lenders have increased 72 percent over the past 12 months.
"In short, over the past year at a national level, the number of originators grew four times faster than originations," RMI said in the statement. "And as a result, there are anecdotal stories of slow originations and a now crowded market."
In just California, where reverse business is down around one-quarter, the number of active lenders increased 55 percent, indicating that significantly more lenders are chasing far fewer loans.
In contrast, Arkansas, where HECM activity has doubled, the number of lenders is up just 53 percent.