Use of standard reverse mortgage arrangements increased 14% last year.[@@]

The total number of home equity conversion mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration increased to 43,131 in the federal government’s 2004 fiscal year, up from 37,829 in fiscal year 2003, according to the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, Washington.

HECMs account for about 90% of all U.S. reverse mortgage loans, NRMLA says.

Many U.S. reverse mortgage recipients use the loans to cope with basic retirement expenses or to fund some kind of home-based care.

Volume could be higher, but federal law requires reverse mortgage applicants to receive mandatory counseling, and scheduling the counseling sessions is taking twice as long as before in many parts of the country, according to NRMLA President Peter Bell.

The top 4 reverse mortgage markets are in California. The only market outside California to make the list of the top 5 reverse mortgage markets is Denver. It ranked fifth, with 1,515 reverse mortgages. Los Angeles led the pack with 3,915 reverse mortgage loans.