HMBS November 2019 Part II: HMBS Float in Equilibrium at $54 Billion

Outstanding HMBS fell by $33 million in November, as lower payoffs were balanced by a strong issuance month. Payoffs totaled just under $928 million, the lowest amount in 9 months. Total outstanding HMBS fell to about $53.9 billion, a three-year low, but scarcely different from last month’s total. This is only the second month HMBS float has been less than $54 billion since May 2016.

After months of decline, the direction of total HMBS float is now hard to predict, given further trends. HMBS issuance in the first half of 2019 was the lowest half of issuance in five years. With one month to go, HMBS issuance figures to post 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. This month, the float appears to be in equilibrium, but can that last?

We predicted continuing declines in Mandatory Buyouts and November was a case in point with buyouts at their lowest level in over 3 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 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 over.

Our friends at Recursion broke down the prepayment numbers further: the 98% MCA mandatory purchases totaled $517 million, or 56% of the total. This continues a gradual 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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