Speeds on 30-year FNMAs increased about 5% on average versus expectations of slowing in the 5% area in December. Furthermore, the largest percentage increases were in discount coupons, the sector which was previously expected to show the largest percentage declines. The story was the same in FHLMC Golds.
The increase in speeds was partly attributed to the warmer weather in the eastern U.S., which offset the traditional seasonal slowdown, Credit Suisse said. Analysts from the firm noted that speeds were up sharply for the South Atlantic and New England states, versus a muted response in California. They added that broker solicitations contributed to higher speeds, pointing out that prepayments were up sharply on broker-originated pools compared to non-broker counterparts. Merrill Lynch analysts also suggested that the early December jump in refinancing activity could have been pushed into December.