Retail Leaders – April 2009

There’s a lot to say about April, but the headlines will undoubtedly read that the industry set a second consecutive record for monthly endorsement volume, something we haven’t seen since early 2004.  Total volume of 11,660 loans was up 3.5% from March and 21.9% from April 2008.  YTD volume was also up 4.4% vs. ’08, the first positive reading on a YTD basis this year.

  • Competition: The number of Active Lenders has stayed relatively flat despite the increase in volume, causing the average volume per lender to jump back into territory not seen since early last year.  If this trend continues we expect we’ll have much happier readers, as this seems to be the most influential indicator we track when it comes to our clients’ relative happiness.  
  • Top 10: 8 of the top 10 lenders increased their volume in April, and One Reverse would have been up except for their ridiculously strong numbers in March.  The industry heavyweights continued to take share, collectively representing 44.6% of YTD volume and 48.8% of April volume.
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  • Regions: The changing of the guard continues from a regional perspective, with Southeast/Caribbean and Pacific/Hawaii both flat to down, while several other regions charge ahead.  Volumes were particularly strong in the NY/NJ and Mid-Atlantic corridor on the East Coast, while growth in the West continues to be about anywhere but the coast, as Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions produced.  Midwest continues to quietly creep up on our leading regions, helped by strength in Chicago and surrounding areas.
  • Metros: Lots of great stories to talk about in the metro looks, so be sure to check the report for full details.  A few highlights:
    • Greensboro is a great example of the divergence in the Southeast/Caribbean.  Florida metros are struggling, while several other metros in the region are growing strongly.  Greensboro stands out because there are relatively few lenders originating loans there, and though new lenders are entering the number of loans is still growing faster.
    • If you can get licensed in New York, go originate as many higher limit HECMs as you can while no one else is paying attention.  And if New York’s rumored 18 month licensing process is tying you in fits, check out San Francisco and the broader Bay Area in California for a very decent backup choice.
    • Richmond continues to impress as the industry’ success in DC seems to be catching on regionally
    • Des Moines is still small and could easily be ruined by too many lenders jumping in, but looks attractive for now
    • The Twin Cities are starting to look like Chicago with less competition, and you can consider that a glowing recommendation!
    • Texas and the Southwest are consistently strong across the board, with Houston as the only exception.  Alburquerque and New Orleans are both growing well, but even Houston has a saving grace with relatively low competition.

When you’re ready to grow, contact us to find your best markets.  Thanks for reading!