The number of federally insured reverse mortgages increased to 76,351 during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, up from 43,131 from the previous fiscal year.

Large sales forces and increased consumer acceptance helped, but another factor was an increase in home values, according to a report on the reverse mortgage market by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, Washington, says.

Government agencies have noted that the housing market started to cool off this summer.

A reverse mortgage is a mechanism that older homeowners can use to borrow against home equity. The mortgages usually are repaid when the borrower dies or moves out and the home is sold.