Happy New Year! 2012 may yet become a fantastic year or a dismal one, but the best thing about this year is the vast potential presented by an entire year stretching out in front of us.
December finished on a modest down note, with HECM endorsements down -0.4% from November to 4,636. Active lenders increased 4.4%, although this measure of competition remains at a low level since stabilizing earlier this year.
We’ve been saying that fewer competitors yields benefits for surviving lenders for at least a year, and Metlife provided a poignant demonstration of this effect. The company’s November and December totals were its two highest endorsement figures of the year, with each month higher than the low months for Wells Fargo before their exit announcement in June.
Of the 10 regions we track, 5 were up including the 2 largest, Southeast/Caribbean and Pacific/Hawaii. And in a year when national volume fell -5.6%, it’s worth noting the winners among our market rankings:
- Jackson, MS took top growth honors, finishing up 41.3% from last year. Honorable mentions go to booming metropolis Casper, WY, up 39.4%, and Shreveport, LA, up 29.8%
- New York rose to the top market in the country with 3,133 loans, up 1.2% from 2010. The big apple swapped spots with Los Angeles, which dropped -10.7% to 2,960.