Non-Agency Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities: Goldilocks Technicals Support Positive Outlook

Low supply, improving fundamentals, and investable scale form a constructive backdrop.

May 18, 2017


This Non-Agency Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities sector report is excerpted from the Second Quarter 2017 Fixed-Income Outlook.

Spreads at post-crisis lows and limited price tiering between lower- and higher-risk tranches warrant more cautious positioning, but we maintain a positive outlook for non-Agency RMBS due to improving credit fundamentals and constructive technicals. The supply shortage in non-Agency RMBS is not a new dynamic: Prepayments, defaults, and loan amortization have reduced the outstanding non-Agency MBS market from a peak of $2.5 trillion in 2007 to $750 billion today, creating reinvestment demand and support for bond prices. This runoff also has a dark side—without adequate new issuance, markets could lose institutional sponsorship. Fortunately, the non-Agency RMBS market resides in a Goldilocks-like middle ground, with sufficient runoff to create positive technical support while maintaining an institutionally accessible $40 billion to $50 billion annual supply of new issues, and outstanding balance comparable to the institutional leveraged loan market. New issuance has evolved to include performing (prime and non-prime) loans, distressed (non- and re-performing) loans, and the credit risk of “vanilla” government-sponsored enterprise loans through Credit Risk Transfer (CRT) deals. We view many of these segments as sustainable and poised for higher issuance in the future.

Non-Agency Issuance Offers Diverse Investment Opportunities

The non-Agency RMBS market resides in a Goldilocks-like middle ground, with sufficient runoff to create positive technical support while maintaining an institutionally accessible $40 billion to $50 billion annual supply of new issues, including prime, non-prime, non-performing and re-performing loans (NPL/RPL), and CRT deals.

Non-Agency Issuance Offers Diverse Investment Opportunities

Source: SIFMA, Wells Fargo, Guggenheim Investments. Data as of 12.31.2016.

Non-Agency RMBS tracked the broader rally in credit risk markets in the first quarter of 2017, posting a 2.2 percent total return. Trading volumes increased, as did dealer risk appetite, relative to the doldrums of the fourth quarter 2016. Housing data were generally positive and investors looked to potential pro-growth fiscal policies to extend the current economic expansion.

With the housing recovery maturing, we look for performance gains to come more from improved prepayments than from lower collateral defaults. Over time, loan pools have experienced positive selection: Weak borrowers defaulted, while remaining borrowers rebuilt their credit history, paid down their mortgages, and benefited from increased home prices. Even as default rates stabilize, prepayments continue to rise, an accretive trend for non-Agency RMBS priced at discounts to par. We currently favor a two-pronged investment approach of focusing on shorter maturity senior tranches backed by pre-crisis subprime, non- and re-performing loans, and selected discount-priced floaters that stand to benefit from improvements in credit performance and prepayments. We continue to avoid deeply subordinated or long maturity tranches with limited yield pickup and potential for heightened price volatility.

Even as Default Rates Stabilize, Prepayments Continue to Rise

For both performing and reperforming loans, default rates have stabilized while prepayments have been improving, an accretive trend for non-Agency RMBS priced at discounts to par.

Even as Default Rates Stabilize, Prepayments Continue to Rise

Source: Amherst Securities, Guggenheim Investments. Data as of 2.28.2017. CRR= Conditional repayment rate, which is an annualized rate of voluntary prepayments relative to the outstanding balance of loans. CDR= Conditional default rate, which is an annualized rate of defaults relative to the outstanding balance of loans.

—Karthik Narayanan, CFA, Managing Director; Eric Marcus, Director

 
Important Notices and Disclosures

This article is distributed for informational purposes only and should not be considered as investing advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. It contains opinions of the authors but not necessarily those of Guggenheim Partners or its subsidiaries. The authors’ opinions are subject to change without notice. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but are not assured as to accuracy. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Investing involves risk. In general, the value of fixed-income securities fall when interest rates rise. High-yield securities present more liquidity and credit risk than investment grade bonds and may be subject to greater volatility. Asset-backed securities, including mortgage-backed securities, may have structures that make their reaction to interest rates and other factors difficult to predict, making their prices volatile and they are subject to liquidity risk. Investments in floating rate senior secured syndicated bank loans and other floating rate securities involve special types of risks, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and prepayment risk. Guggenheim Investments represents the following affiliated investment management businesses of Guggenheim Partners, LLC: Guggenheim Partners Investment Management, LLC, Security Investors, LLC, Guggenheim Funds Investment Advisors, LLC, Guggenheim Funds Distributors, LLC, Guggenheim Real Estate, LLC, GS GAMMA Advisors, LLC, Guggenheim Partners Europe Limited and Guggenheim Partners India Management. ©2017, Guggenheim Partners, LLC. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission of Guggenheim Partners, LLC.


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