Reverse-mortgage lenders closed 112,000 home equity conversion loans in fiscal year 2008, up from 107,558 in 2007.

Researchers at the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, Washington, compiled those figures using data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Homeownership and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 may have reduced reverse mortgage growth temporarily, because would-be borrowers may be waiting for HUD to apply new HERA rules, NRMLA says.

One HERA provision would allow reverse-mortgage borrowers to get bigger loans at lower origination fees.

HUD recently approved a single national loan limit of $417,000 for federally insured home equity conversion mortgages, or reverse mortgages.

Previously, the HECM program lending limits ranged from $200,160 in some rural areas to $362,790 in the areas with the most expensive homes.

HUD expects the new national loan limit to take effect Nov. 1.