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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

MBS Market Data

by Tanta on 10/10/2007 09:40:00 AM

More unattractive little snips from my unattractive spreadsheet collection (earlier posts here and here). What can I say? UberNerds don't need no steenkin' fancy formatting.

Item one gives you some sense of the size of the residential first lien securitization market since 1988.

I have been avoiding the terms "agency" and "nonagency" on this blog, but I'm breaking down and using them here. These are an established and pretty old-fashioned way of describing things inside the biz, but they are traps for the unwary. In this particular context, "agency" means Ginnie Mae (which securitizes FHA, VA, and a few other government-insured loans), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, even though only Ginnie Mae is actually an agency of the government (Fannie and Freddie are GSEs, Government-Sponsored Enterprises, not actual agencies). But we used to call them all agencies, and the term survived reality by about a generation and a half, so there. "Nonagency" just means any private issuer.

The column "Issues / Originations" is simply that: one annual number divided by another annual number. That is a very, very approximate way to describe the rate of securitization of originated loans. You would get a number much closer to reality if you used quarterly numbers with a one quarter lag, but I don't have quarterly origination numbers handy. So do throw this number around with a high degree of caution.

What we learn from this spreadsheet is something like the approximate size of the segment of mortgage outstandings that have been in the news lately. The nonagency category (in these charts) includes Jumbo A, Alt-A, and Subprime, primarily first liens. (It includes some MBS that have a small percentage of second liens in them, but excludes MBS that are exclusively second liens. I complain regularly about the "lumpy" or Bridge Mix nature of recent nonagency MBS issues, and this is one reason why.) Basically, all the reporting you are seeing that is based on securitized nonagency loans is discussing around a third of securitized loans outstanding, or 19% of all loans outstanding (as of Q4 2006). Because there is so little data available on unsecuritized loans, it is extremely difficult to answer the question of the extent to which "nonagency" unsecurtized (these are mostly but not exclusively bank and thrift portfolio loans) will perform like their securitized brethren. Most of us believe that the securitized loans were written to much riskier standards than the unsecuritized loans, although as I noted yesterday in reference to the C of the C's last exasperated speech, I do believe that portfolio lending standards have loosened significantly in the last several years. You may in any case draw your own conclusions.

Item two is all the information I have on the break-out of the nonagency category. I got nuthin' on outstandings prior to 2000, but you can guess from what's here that they were rather modest in relation to total mortgage outstandings in those years.

I do not have a refi mix breakout by product for Jumbo A and Alt-A, so I didn't include it. But you can get a sense for how much of new origination is refinance (turnover in the outstandings rather than net additions to it) by comparing issues to the change in outstandings in a given year.

You can also get an idea for why people like me have been snorting derisively for years over this claim that "Alt-A" has a stellar performance history. It barely has a "history" at all. Furthermore, the definition of "Alt-A" in 1995 bears little resemblance to the definition of "Alt-A" in 2006. Remember that "Alt-A" means "alternative" to "A," and so whatever it is, its composition will change as the definition of "A" or "prime," to which it is an "alternative," changes. Back in the mid-90s, SIVA (stated income/verified asset) or--gasp!--CLTVs of 95% were the big "alternatives" and "interest only" was the sort of thing you ran into in commercial lending. Not only do you have, nowadays, IO SIVA with 100% CLTV in "A" (conforming or Jumbo), you have stuff in Alt-A that was simply unimaginable in 1995. So as "A" gets more "alty" over time, "alt" gets waaay more "alty" over time. What people are trying to get at by asking how "Alt-A" can "revert to normal" is, as far as I'm concerned, not very clear. I have no idea what other people think "normal" Alt-A is.