Non-Agency Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities: Tread Lightly
Wider spreads and inconsistent liquidity belie positive long-run fundamentals.
This Non-Agency Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities sector report is excerpted from the First Quarter 2019 Fixed-Income Outlook.
Late-cycle credit market volatility in the fourth quarter and elevated RMBS dealer inventories weighed on non-Agency RMBS spreads and market liquidity. The credit tailwinds of healing borrower credit performance, favorable demographic trends, and limited housing inventory remain in place, but proved no panacea to higher risk premiums demanded by investors in the face of an aging credit cycle. Looking ahead, the rally in Treasury yields has reduced mortgage borrowing costs by 0.5 percent since November and should improve housing affordability and turnover, providing incremental upside to credit performance.
Despite posting negative -2.2 percent total return in the fourth quarter, non-Agency RMBS completed 2018 with a 3.3 percent total return and outpaced broader credit markets. New issuance tapered over the fourth quarter in response to deteriorating market conditions but completed 2018 at a post crisis high of $100 billion. Post-crisis RMBS subsectors are demanding greater investor focus as new issuance volumes increase and the pre-crisis market continues to roll off.
New Non-Agency RMBS Issuance Sets a Post-Crisis High
New issuance reached $100 billion in 2018 and is garnering greater investor focus as the pre-crisis RMBS subsector continues to roll off.
Source: Guggenheim Investments, Nomura. Data as of 12.31.2018.
While securitizations backed by non- and re-performing loans (NPL/RPL) drove much of the growth since 2013, NPL issuance decreased in 2018. Issuance is expected to decrease further in 2019 as increasing funding costs in the short end of the yield curve as well as strengthening U.S. housing fundamentals diminish distressed supply. Instead, supply of RPLs, prime, and non-prime (also referred to as non-qualified mortgage, or non-QM) RMBS are expected to increase. Recent credit spread widening had an adverse impact on securitization economics. Spreads on RPL AAA as well as on other loss-remote, recently issued tranches have drifted wider by 60 basis points since March 2018—a 133 percent increase—which has meaningfully eroded securitization profitability for sponsors. For securitizations of new loans, particularly in the case of the non-QM market where loans are made in a relatively inelastic market, the higher cost of securitized debt can be transmitted to new loan pricing to preserve profitability. In NPL/RPL markets, in which sponsors aggregate loans over time, widening spreads and inconsistent liquidity create a headwind to issuance.
Spreads on Recent-Issue AAAs Have Underperformed Other Sectors
Spreads on re-performing loan AAAs have widened by 60 basis points—a 133 percent increase—since the tights of March 2018. This change will create headwinds for new issuance.
Source: Guggenheim Investments, Wells Fargo. Data as of 1.12.2019.
Balancing our constructive outlook on non-Agency RMBS fundamentals is our expectation of ongoing market volatility and irregular liquidity, emphasizing shorter maturity and structurally senior tranches for their lower prospective price volatility. We also favor pass-through structures backed by seasoned credit-sensitive collateral that stands to benefit from improving credit fundamentals.
—Karthik Narayanan, CFA, Managing Director; Roy Park, Director; Alex Zhang, Vice President
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, GS GAMMA Advisors, LLC, Guggenheim Partners Europe Limited, and Guggenheim Partners India Management.
©2019, 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.
Brian Smedley, Head of Macroeconomic and Investment Research, and Portfolio Manager Steve Brown share their outlook for the third quarter 2020.
Brian Smedley, Head of Macroeconomic and Investment Research, discusses major trends likely to shape markets this year.
Guggenheim Investments represents the investment management businesses of Guggenheim Partners, LLC ("Guggenheim"). Guggenheim Funds Distributors, LLC is an affiliate of Guggenheim.
Read a prospectus and summary prospectus (if available) carefully before investing. It contains the investment objective, risks charges, expenses and the other information, which should be considered carefully before investing. To obtain a prospectus and summary prospectus (if available) click here or call 800.820.0888.
Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.
*Assets under management is as of 12.31.2020 and includes leverage of $13.7bn. Guggenheim Investments represents the following affiliated investment management businesses of Guggenheim Partners, LLC: Guggenheim Partners Investment Management, LLC, Security Investors, LLC, Guggenheim Funds Distributors, LLC, Guggenheim Funds Investment Advisors, LLC, Guggenheim Corporate Funding, LLC, Guggenheim Partners Europe Limited, GS GAMMA Advisors, LLC, and Guggenheim Partners India Management. Securities offered through Guggenheim Funds Distributors, LLC.
Guggenheim Investments. All rights reserved.
Research our firm with FINRA Broker Check.
• Not FDIC Insured • No Bank Guarantee • May Lose Value
This website is directed to and intended for use by citizens or residents of the United States of America only. The material provided on this website is not intended as a recommendation or as investment advice of any kind, including in connection with rollovers, transfers, and distributions. Such material is not provided in a fiduciary capacity, may not be relied upon for or in connection with the making of investment decisions, and does not constitute a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell securities. All content has been provided for informational or educational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be construed as legal or tax advice and/or a legal opinion. Always consult a financial, tax and/or legal professional regarding your specific situation. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.