Retail Leaders – May 2009

May endorsement numbers are out, and they ain’t pretty – unit volume of 8,396 for the month dropped 28% vs April, and was the second lowest monthly number since November’s 7,771. The volume drop was across the board, as we saw lower numbers for all of the top 10 lenders, as well as declines across all regions.

The weakness wasn’t confined to just endorsements, either.  We like to track the competitive nature of the industry, and that of course means the number of active lenders at any given point in time.  The number of lenders that had a loan insured by HUD in the month of May dropped by 269, or -21.3%.

Often, we’d be able to point to one particular lender and say they probably had an issue in getting endorsements issued, but this month that’s not the case. Given the weakness across the board, it’s more likely either the result of weak HECM application numbers in January/February, or HUD had some issues in general in its insuring process. We’d venture it’s a combination of the two, but time will tell on that.

On the bright side, if we look at the numbers in total for 2009, the strong volume in the months of March and April still leave the industry trending 2.1% above the levels of last year.  Of the top 10 lenders, only two have a decline over last year. And if we dig deeper into the report, we see that certain metros are experiencing tremendous growth this year.  Some examples:

  • Richmond, VA: +28.5%
  • Chicago, IL: +42.4%
  • New York, NY: +64.4%
  • San Francisco: +64.8%
  • Portland, OR: +31.8%
  • Caribbean: +135.8% (Really, the entire Southeast region, outside of Florida, is doing extremely well right now)
  • San Antonio, TX: +46.3%

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