The California Connection to the HECM

California HECM program reverse mortgage

California: The lynchpin of the HECM’s economic outlook

Since 2009 California has led all states for total HECM endorsements. In fact, according to the Fiscal Year, 2021 Independent Actuarial Review of the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, California accounted for 26% of all HECM endorsements in the fiscal year 2021. Florida, Arizona, Colorado, and Texas trail significantly in endorsements accounting for 7-8% of overall loan volume respectively. California is home to some of the nation’s highest-valued homes and also has seen some of the most rapid growth in Home Price Appreciation. Consequently, any broad declines in home values in the Golden State will have a marked impact on the 2023 and 2024 economic valuation of the HECM Program.

FHA acknowledges this sensitivity in its 2021 report. “HPA is a lagging indicator that tends to overstate
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Why California is the future of the HECM Fund

Why California will shape the future of the HECM in FHA’s Insurance Fund

A few things are undeniable and established truths; one being the valuation of FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund is extremely sensitive to even the most modest changes in home price appreciation. Don’t blame the messenger. Blame the math. The mathematical assumptions where a mere 1 drop in home appreciation reduces FHA’s insurances fund’s capitalization ratio by 1.3%. Applying a hypothetical stress test FHA’s report to Congress reveals market conditions similar to 2007 would completely erase the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund’s positive six-percent capitalization ratio down to a negative .63 percent.  Knowing this it’s easier to understand the agency’s reluctance to grant repeated requests from housing lobbyists to further reduce premiums. It’s clear that a higher capitalization ratio is needed to weather the storms of economic uncertainty.

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