County Perspective – HECM Trends January 2012

Any time we get discouraged by low reverse mortgage volumes, we find it helpful to look below the national totals to find areas where the industry is on the upswing. This month case numbers issued (applications) were down to levels unseen in over 6 years, but there’s always a silver lining somewhere.

This month, we found the first hint of that silver lining in our rankings of the top 10 counties by volume on page 1 of our HECM Trends report. After noticing that the 2 counties (Miami, FL and Riverside, CA) in our list showing growth from last January were definite “housing bust” areas, it got us thinking about where else we might find some growth.

After looking at the top 5 counties in several states, a pattern started to emerge. After several years of seeing states and counties with lower volume catching up with their leading peers, it seems that in several cases historical leaders are re-emerging as growth areas thus far in 2012. (Please note that all graphs are best viewed in larger format by clicking on each image below).

Perhaps the best example of growth is in New York, where we see Suffolk and Nassau counties reaching their highest levels in 2 years. The state’s HECM volume wasn’t hit as hard by the housing bust as others, and both counties are in shouting distance of all time highs from 2009.

Next comes the other end of the spectrum, where Miami is showing YTD growth, but remains a pale ghost of its former self as a leading HECM market. What’s interesting is that volumes thus far in 2012 are well above the trend from the past 12 months, so perhaps the rumored Florida home price stabilization that Dennis Loxton keeps sending us article links to is benefiting reverse mortgages as well.

Last but not least we come to our own home state of California, where Riverside caught our attention originally but San Diego and Los Angeles appear to be on the upswing as well. The coast is king in California real estate, and as go the coastal counties will go the whole state’s reverse mortgage industry in the foreseeable future.

Click on the image below to view the full HECM Trends report for this month.

HECM Trends