HMBS February 2020 Part II: HMBS Float Remains in Equilibrium Just Above $54 Billion

Outstanding HMBS rose by $72 million in February, as lower payoffs were once again balanced by a strong issuance month. Payoffs totaled approximately $800 million, down about $100 million from last month. Total outstanding HMBS remains at $54.1 billion, an equilibrium in which new issuance and interest roll-up roughly equal payoffs.

In 2019, HMBS posted the lowest annual total in five years. However, low interest rates and now a higher lending limit have boosted production significantly, while Mandatory Buyouts continue to fall. How long can this equilibrium last?

We predicted continuing declines in Mandatory Buyouts, and February was a case in point, with Buyout dollar volume at its lowest level in nearly 5 years. “Peak Buyout” was an echo of the peak issuance from 2009 through the first half of 2013. Much of this production has already been repurchased by the issuers or repaid by borrowers. From now on, billion-dollar-plus payoff months will be the exception rather than the rule. Many HECM loans continue to reach their buyout threshold, equal to 98% of their Maximum Claim Amount (“MCA”), but Peak Buyout is long gone.

Our friends at Recursion broke down the prepayment numbers further: the 98% MCA mandatory purchases totaled just $421 million, the lowest amount in nearly 4 years. This continues the downward trend from the buyout peak in the third quarter of 2018, which averaged over $750 million in Mandatory Purchases per month.

New View Advisors compiled this data from publicly available Ginnie Mae data as well as private sources.

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