Bad News for Mortgage REIT AGNC. Housing Prices Headed Lower.

The financial press is reporting today that house prices are headed back down following the ill conceived government stimulus known as the “First Time Home Buyer” subsidy.

I believe these continued adverse developments in the broader residential mortgage market will negatively impact the earnings of high dividend stock American Capital Agency Corp. (AGNC).  The following risk excerpt from AGNC’s 2009 annual report states the risk quite succinctly:

Continued adverse developments in the broader residential mortgage market may adversely affect the value of the agency securities in which we invest.

In 2008 and 2009, the residential mortgage market in the United States experienced a variety of unprecedented difficulties and changed economic conditions, including defaults, credit losses and liquidity concerns. Many of these conditions are expected to continue in 2010. Certain commercial banks, investment banks and insurance companies announced extensive losses from exposure to the residential mortgage market.  These losses reduced financial industry capital, leading to reduced liquidity for some institutions. These factors have impacted investor perception of the risk associated with real estate related assets, including agency securities and other high-quality RMBS assets. As a result, values for RMBS assets, including some agency securities and other AAA-rated RMBS assets, have experienced a certain amount of volatility. Further increased volatility and deterioration in the broader residential mortgage and RMBS markets may adversely affect the

performance and market value of our agency securities.

We invest exclusively in agency securities and rely on our agency securities as collateral for our financings.  Any decline in their value, or perceived market uncertainty about their value, would likely make it difficult for us to obtain financing on favorable terms or at all, or maintain our compliance with terms of any financing arrangements already in place. The agency securities we invest in are classified for accounting purposes as available-for-sale. All assets classified as available-for-sale are reported at fair value, based on market prices from third-party sources, with unrealized gains and losses excluded from earnings and reported as a separate component of stockholders’ equity. As a result, a decline in fair values may reduce the book value of our assets.  Moreover, if the decline in fair value of an available-for-sale security is other-than-temporarily impaired, such

decline will reduce earnings. If market conditions result in a decline in the fair value of our agency securities, our financial position and results of operations could be adversely affected.

There really is a double-dip recession.  It never went away.  Federal Reserve counterfeiting and government stimulus just papered over the problems for many months.  The structural problems caused by fractional reserve banking and government deficit spending are not only present, but they have worsened.  Prices must drop to clear markets and to bring supply and demand into balance.

There is a glut of unemployed people, there is a glut of houses, and businesses are not hiring.  These facts are finally imposing reality on some people.  More people will default on their mortgage payments when housing prices decline.  They will join a growing number of strategic defaulters (people who could make their mortgage payments but chose not to).  This occurs because their loans exceed the dollar price of their homes and also due to the resentment against bankers who receive Federal Reserve and US government bailouts.

Look at this chart.  The trend is clearly down.  Keep this in mind as you watch the short video clip at the end of this article.

[D]ata showed single-family home prices fell in December, bringing them closer to the low seen in 2009.

The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas declined 0.4 percent in December from November on a seasonally adjusted basis, as expected.

For the year, prices fell 2.4 percent, slightly more than the 2.3 percent decline analysts had forecast.

While the composite held above its 2009 low, 11 cities hit their lowest levels since home prices peaked in 2006 and 2007, the report showed.

Unadjusted for seasonal impact, home prices fell 1 percent for the month, leaving them just 2.3 percent above their April 2009 troughs, S&P said.

VIDEO: House prices drop; Case-Shiller: 10 city index

Robert Shiller, Yale University Professor of [Keynesian] Economics, and David Blitzer, S&P 500 Index Committee chairman, discusses [housing price] declines in the 10 and 20 City Indices.


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Published in: on February 22, 2011 at 1:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

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