REVERSE MORTGAGE INFORMATION: Tools, News and Resources to Help Seniors Decide

How the new housing bill affects reverse mortgages.

Written by rmcinturff on Thursday, July 31st, 2008 in HECM, HECM Research Statistics.

The recent signing of the HOUSING AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY ACT OF 2008 (HR 3221) by President Bush puts into motion something that has been long in the making and that’s a modernization of FHA rules for reverse mortgages. Some of the changes facing potential reverse mortgage clients are an increase in the national lending limit from the individual county limits now in place. Folks in some parts of the country will see their lending limit rise from as low as $200,160 to an anticipated $417,000 and that’s good news for those with home values over their county lending limits since any equity access was determined from the lower of the appraised value or the respective county lending limit. In many cases where the reverse mortgage was to utilized to pay off an existing forward mortgage there wasn’t enough cash access to pay off that mortgage and the borrower either had to come to the table with money or look for alternative methods which often led to selling the home and in a down market, that’s neither easy or fun.

Another change is with the origination fee, currently capped at 2% of the lesser of the appraised value or the county lending limit. The new bill will keep the 2% up to $200,000 but cap the origination fee at $6000 which is more than $1200 less than some of the highest fees where county lending limits were as high as $362,790. In that case, 2% of that amount would have resulted in an origination fee of $7255.80.

Higher lending limits combined with lower origination fees are great for those seniors whose circumstances have them looking at ways to increase their monthly cashflow without making risky investments in a roller coaster stock market.

Some new additions to the bill are for folks in co-ops and those looking to use the reverse mortgage as a finance tool to help them purchase a home, most likely in a downsizing event. Currently, only New York co-op owners are able to secure reverse mortgages because of their prevalence. There are other pockets of the country with co-ops and this will be a relief for those co-op owners as other means of financing have disappeared as most boutique programs are no longer available. In the event someone wants to downsize from a larger, more expensive home, the ability to purchase a home using a reverse mortgage is also a welcome addition. As an example, someone in a $400,000 home can sell the home, take a portion of the proceeds for purchase of a less expensive home, say $200,000, and instead of putting up the entire value in cash, they can put down a small portion, in this example, half of the value and finance the other half and not only do they eliminate monthly mortgage payments, they keep a larger portion of their cash in their pocket and in this market, cash is king. Instead of having $200,000 left over from the sale of the home, they now have $300,000 and no monthly payments as long as they live in the home. That’s also great for those that don’t currently qualify for a regular mortgage because of bad credit or insufficient fixed monthly income as those programs have gone the way of the other boutique programs once offered by most forward lending brokers.

Some other features are a prohibition against requirements to purchase additional products as a condition for HECM eligibility such as annuities or life insurance policies. That is good news as the recent negative information about reverse mortgages has been because of this very practice. Folks short on cash flow that need a reverse mortgage should not have their money tied up in any annuity, be it immediate or deferred. The reverse mortgage provides more cash flow with less restrictions than the annuity could anyway in most situations where monthly cash flow is short. Another mention is about a study to determine consumer protections and underwriting standards for HECMs which will help to insure that purchase of any additional products by a consumer is appropriate for the consumer.

We like the new changes, they are consumer protection focused and open up opportunities to help save some homeowners from increasing monthly payments on their forward mortgages that were having a harder and harder time making that increased payment amount and the homebuying function is a great tool for credit challenged or those looking to downsize into more affordable housing.

January HECM Activity Rebounds

Written by admin on Sunday, February 3rd, 2008 in Reverse Mortgage Summary Charts.

Reverse Mortgage Trendline

Rebounding from four consecutive months of below average performance, the number of HECM reverse mortgages originated rebounded in January posting the fourth best monthly performance on record. The 9,957 HECM’s approved in January represented a 24% increase over the 8,007 HECMs endorsed in the prior month (December 2007) and a 13% jump over the 8,824 endorsements made in January 2007. (more…)

November HECM Activity Disappoints

Written by admin on Monday, December 3rd, 2007 in HECM Research Statistics.

8,270 HECM reverse mortgages were endorsed during November 2007 according to the most recent HECM activity report released by HUD. November’s HECM production is a 10.6% gain over the 7,478 HECM’s endorsed in November 2006 but a 1.7% decrease from October 2007 when 8,417 HECMs were endorsed. More troubling: November was the third consecutive month that HECM production fell below its 12-month moving average – the first time this has occurred since mid-2005.

The 12-month moving average provides a clearer trend line of HECM loan growth by smoothing out month-to-month variations. Interestingly, despite the fact that monthly HECM activity has dipped below the 12-month average for three straight months, the 12-month average itself hit an all-time high of 9,004 in November, due mostly to the exceptionally strong HECM activity earlier in the 12-month period.

For the calendar year 2007, 100,286 HECMS were endorsed compared to 77,879 during the first eleven months of 2006 – a 29% rise. For the twelve months ended 11/30/07, 108,046 HECMS were endorsed – a 30% rise over the 82,838 endorsed during the prior twelve month period.

reverse mortgage closings thru November 2007

Clearly, falling home values and the problems in the traditional mortgage sector are taking their toll on the once torrid growth of reverse mortgages. We’ll have more to report on the most recent HECM statistics in future posts.

HECM Mortgage Payoff Types by Borrower Age

Written by admin on Friday, November 9th, 2007 in HECM Research Statistics.

We came across this table that was part of a presentation at the . The table shows, by borrower age, the cause for HECM reverse mortgage loan payoffs.

We’ve previously written about the surprising fact that the majority of HECM loans are paid off within seven years. This chart expands on this showing the general reasons why HECM loans are paid off.

Most notable is the fact that less than 1/3 of HECMs terminate due to death. Overall, the vast majority of HECMs terminate because the borrower sells and/or moves out – not because the borrower dies while living in their home. (more…)

HECM Lender Comparison 10/31/2007 vs 10/31/2006

Written by admin on Wednesday, November 7th, 2007 in HECM.

In a prior post we examined evolution of the HECM market over the past two years (ended 10/31/06 and 10/31/07) focusing on the geographic location of HUD home equity conversion mortgage endorsements. The table below examines the evolution of lenders’ HECM market shares and growth over the same time frame.

Some observations:

  • Market share among the “top 50″ lenders has shrunk from 73.2% to 63.1%. Most of this shrinkage is explained by the drop in market share experienced by Wells Fargo (rom 30% to 21%).
  • Seven of this year’s Top 10 lenders were also in the Top 10 one year ago. Three new members of the Top 10 (Vertical Lend, Omni home Financing, and Urban Financial all had HECM activity growth in excess of 100% during this period.
  • BNY Mortgage saw HECM activity fall 22.7% and its Top 10 ranking go from #5 to #8 despite being the originator of the HECM 100 which was very popular earlier this year.
  • (more…)

    HECM Market Comparison 10/31/2007 vs 10/31/2006

    Written by admin on Tuesday, November 6th, 2007 in HECM Research Statistics.

    Much has changed over the past year in the HECM loan market: Florida has taken over from California as the reverse mortgage activity “hot spot” in the U.S.; new products like the HECM 100 and HECM 125 have emerged, and the overall volume of HECM loans has increased substantially. We thought it would be interesting to track HECM market changes in each of the locations that HUD processes home equity conversion mortgages.

    The following table shows, for each location, the absolute change in HECM volume and the change in market share. Time periods used for comparison are the 12-month periods ended 10/31/07 and 10/31/06. Most of the significant changes reflect the emergence of Florida HECM activity and the corresponding declines in California HECM activity that we’ve noted before. But some other interesting points emerge as well: (more…)

    HECM Growth By State

    Written by admin on Friday, November 2nd, 2007 in Reverse Mortgage Summary Charts.

    Our prior use of a “heat map” showing Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Growth in U.S. States was well received by visitors so we thought we’d make it a monthly feature using data from HUD’s monthly HECM activity reports.

    The map below is based on percentage changes HECM growth rates for the 12-month period ended 10/31/07 compared with the 12-month period ended 10/31/06. RED, ORANGE, and YELLOW states all had HECM growth rates exceeding the national average while BLUE and GREEN had growth below the national average. More detailed color code descriptions are included below the map:

    US HECM Growth