Despite a flurry of reports and articles about home prices stabilizing or slightly increasing, only a third of mortgage bond investors interviewed by JPMorgan Securities (JPM) expect significant home price growth in the near future.
The investors' wariness when it comes to the potential for price hikes calls into question whether the housing market has truly bottomed out and is braced for a sustainable turnaround. A recent review of the seven major home price indices shows values for 2012 as either stable or growing.
In addition, 80% of mortgage investors expect additional quantitative easing on the part of the Federal Reserve to occur in the near future. About half of those surveyed believe this announcement could come as early as September.
The report is less pessimistic than reports released from research firms like Deutsche Bank (DB), which published an analyst report not long ago saying housing is becoming a tailwind for the broader economy as home prices and construction activity finally rise.
At the same time, analysts with JPMorgan Securities believe that positive headlines in the coming weeks and home prices bottoming out will continue to support non-agencies with many investors starting to think the worst may be behind us.
But there are still uncertainties in the market impacting the confidence of bond investors, including a lack of finality when it comes to MBS settlements.
Analysts with JPMorgan Securities cited investors known as Walnut Place as just one example.
The investor group recently backed away from its yearlong objection to an $8.5 billion residential mortgage-backed securities settlement between Bank of America (Countrywide) and the trustee overseeing a pool of residential mortgages, Bank of New York Mellon. Despite the group ending its objection to the settlement, mortgage bond investors still lack finality since attorney generals from New York and Delaware are still pushing back against the settlement, JPMorgan Securities said.
In fact, investors show signs of little confidence in the idea that MBS bond investors will receive a pay out from the $8.5 billion Bank of America settlement within the next year. About 14% of those interviewed by JPMorgan Securities believe investors will never be paid from the settlement, 18% expect payment within the next year, 25% expect to paid between the next 12 to 18 months and another 43% expect it will take at least 18 or more months for bond investors to be paid out of the settlement funds.