Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More Evidence of a Turn

In my last post I reported that there was evidence in the bidding dynamic that TRE auction pricing levels were stabilizing. An excess of liquidity in the market had helped push Buyers' yields down substantially and consistently since last September.

But there was evidence at the end of January that the deterioration in yields might be ending. At mid-February that evidence is stronger.

By our calculations the weighted average expected returns for all auctions sold in the first half of February was essentially the same as that for all auctions sold in January. The deterioration in yields, at least in the short term, had ended.

That doesn't mean things can't change rapidly; but to add a few data points to the conclusion suggested by market-wide averages, let me offer the following:

1. The stabilization in yields has occurred on LOWER volume. Now, nobody can be too pleased with lower volume, but if yields stabilize on lower volume it suggests that the demand has decreased at a rate greater than supply. So some of the enthusiasm of the new Buyers in December and January might have been dampened as they came to realize just how low they had pushed returns.

2. The velocity of closings has slowed substantially. Auctions are remaining on the screen for hours or days, in some cases, rather than seconds.

3. Bidding has returned to the auction dynamic. More and more auctions are starting at higher bids and attracting competing offers before closing.

4. Some auctions are again being sold to multiple Buyers, suggesting the deeper-pocket Buyers are not quite as driven to hit the buy-out button on larger transactions.

5. Asking prices are starting to creep back up from their rock-bottom levels of a few weeks ago. This is not a uniform phenomenon but we're seeing it from some of the Sellers that had really tested the lower-limits of pricing structure.

6. One Seller who sold at prices at the lowest end of the spectrum just a few weeks ago, sold three auctions today at projected yields more than double those of its average January transactions.

Let me stress again that all it would take for these initial indications of a firming, and perhaps a turning, in the market would be for money-flow to resume its rise at a rate greater than supply.

That could easily happen tomorrow.

But today, and for the first half of the month, it seems possible that the bottom in yields has been found, at least for the time being.

And that feels good.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mr. Lightner,

    As a buyer on TRE, I am happy to see the turn of buying frenzy as well. However, as a great portion of receivables pay back principal in less than two months. We may experience another squeeze in yield next month when the elephant rolls his position.