Standard & Poor’s expects less than $5 billion of new nonagency residential mortgage-backed securities this year, a mere 0.5% of peak levels. The firm projects the private-label RMBS market to remain muted “this year and possibly for much longer.” Analysts said the inventory of foreclosures, roughly 18 months of supply at current sales paces, is keeping homebuyers on the sidelines despite historically low mortgage interest rates. Consumers lack confidence in the market and are “afraid of ‘catching a falling knife’ by purchasing a home,” according to S&P. The ratings agency held its annual housing summit Thursday, at which Robert Shiller said another decline of 10% to 25% in housing prices over the next five years is possible. The economist said the country is “at a tipping point where it is not clear what the future trend of both the economy and housing prices will be.” Standard & Poor’s said Shiller is studying possible causes of the housing fiasco and “thought it might be related to the growth of capitalism around the world and the growing perception of individuals that they need to invest in assets with higher returns as governments reduce their role.” There was $3.13 trillion commercial and multifamily mortgage debt outstanding at the end of the first quarter, according to Federal Reserve flow of funds data. S&P said that is down 0.7% from the fourth quarter and $350 billion lower than the roughly $3.5 trillion at the end of 2008. Analysts said loans in commercial mortgage-backed securities account for $700 billion, or 22.3% of the total debt outstanding, which is similar to levels last seen in 2002 and 2003. The CMBS market share peaked at 28% in the fall of 2007. Standard & Poor’s said life companies, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, boosted market share the past year while commercial banks lost ground. Write to Jason Philyaw.

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