FAIR VALUE OF FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS
|12 Months Ended|
Dec. 31, 2015
|Fair Value Disclosures [Abstract]|
FAIR VALUE OF FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS
The following table summarizes the carrying values and estimated fair values of Newcastle’s financial instruments at December 31, 2015 and 2014:
Fair Value Measurements
The fair value of financial instruments is categorized based on the priority of the inputs to the valuation technique and categorized into a three-level fair value hierarchy. The fair value hierarchy gives the highest priority to quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities (Level 1) and the lowest priority to unobservable inputs (Level 3). Newcastle follows this hierarchy for its financial instruments measured at fair value.
Level 1 - Quoted prices in active markets for identical instruments.
Level 2 - Valuations based principally on observable market parameters, including:
•quoted prices for similar assets and liabilities in active markets,
•market corroborated inputs (derived principally from or corroborated by observable market data).
Level 3 - Valuations determined using unobservable inputs that are supported by little or no market activity, and that are significant to the overall fair value measurement. Level 3 assets and liabilities include financial instruments whose value is determined using non-binding market quotations, pricing models, discounted cash flow methodologies, or similar techniques where significant inputs are unobservable, as well as instruments for which the determination of fair value requires significant management judgment or estimation.
Fair value may be based upon broker quotations, counterparty quotations or pricing services quotations, which provide valuation estimates based upon reasonable market order indications or management's good faith estimate, and are subject to significant variability based on market conditions, such as interest rates, credit spreads and market liquidity. A significant portion of Newcastle’s loans, securities and debt obligations are currently not traded in active markets and therefore have little or no price transparency. As a result, Newcastle has estimated the fair value of these illiquid instruments based on internal pricing models or quotations subject to Newcastle's controls described below.
Newcastle has various processes and controls in place to ensure that fair value measurements are reasonably estimated. With respect to broker and pricing service quotations, and in order to ensure these quotes represent a reasonable estimate of fair value, Newcastle’s quarterly procedures include a comparison of such quotations to quotations from different sources, outputs generated from its internal pricing models and transactions completed, as well as on its knowledge and experience of these markets. With respect to fair value estimates generated based on Newcastle’s internal pricing models, Newcastle’s management validates the inputs and outputs of the internal pricing models by comparing them to available independent third party market parameters and models, where available, for reasonableness. Newcastle believes its valuation methods and the assumptions used are appropriate and consistent with other market participants.
Fair value measurements categorized within Level 3 are sensitive to changes in the assumptions or methodology used to determine fair value and such changes could result in a significant increase or decrease in the fair value. For Newcastle’s investments in real estate securities, real estate related and other loans and residential mortgage loans categorized within Level 3 of the fair value hierarchy, the significant unobservable inputs include the discount rates, assumptions relating to prepayments, default rates and loss severities. Significant increases (decreases) in any of the discount rates, default rates or loss severities in isolation would result in a significantly lower (higher) fair value measurement. The impact of changes in prepayment speeds would have differing impacts on fair value, depending on the seniority of the investment. Generally, a change in the default assumption is accompanied by directionally similar changes in the assumptions used for the loss severity and the prepayment speed.
Recurring Fair Value Measurements - Real Estate Securities and Derivatives
The following table summarizes financial assets and liabilities measured at fair value on a recurring basis at December 31, 2015:
Significant Unobservable Inputs
The following table provides quantitative information regarding the significant unobservable inputs used by Newcastle for assets and liabilities measured at fair value on a recurring basis as of December 31, 2015 This table excludes inputs used to measure fair value that are not developed by Newcastle, such as broker prices and other third-party pricing service valuations.
All of the inputs used in the table have some degree of market observability, based on Newcastle’s knowledge of the market, relationships with market participants, and use of common market data sources. Collateral prepayment, default and loss severity projections are in the form of “curves” or “vectors” that vary for each monthly collateral cash flow projection. Methods used to develop these projections vary by asset class (e.g., CMBS projections are developed differently than home equity ABS projections) but conform to industry conventions. Newcastle uses assumptions that generate its best estimate of future cash flows of each respective security.
The prepayment speed vector specifies the percentage of the collateral balance that is expected to voluntarily pay off at each point in the future. The prepayment speed vector is based on projections from a widely published investment bank model, which considers factors such as collateral FICO score, loan-to-value ratio, debt-to-income ratio, and vintage on a loan level basis. This vector is scaled up or down to match recent collateral-specific prepayment experience, as obtained from remittance reports and market data services.
Loss severities are based on recent collateral-specific experience with additional consideration given to collateral characteristics. Collateral age is taken into consideration because severities tend to initially increase with collateral age before eventually stabilizing. Newcastle typically uses projected severities that are higher than the historic experience for collateral that is relatively new to account for this effect. Collateral characteristics such as loan size, lien position, and location (state) also affect loss severity. Newcastle considers whether a collateral pool has experienced a significant change in its composition with respect to these factors when assigning severity projections.
Default rates are determined from the current “pipeline” of loans that are more than 90 days delinquent, in foreclosure, or are REO. These significantly delinquent loans determine the first 24 months of the default vector. Beyond month 24, the cumulative default vector transitions to a steady-state value that is generally equal to or greater than that given by the widely published investment bank model.
The discount rates Newcastle uses are derived from a range of observable pricing on securities backed by similar collateral and offered in a live market. As the markets in which Newcastle transacts have become less liquid, Newcastle has had to rely on fewer data points in this analysis.
Newcastle’s investments in instruments measured at fair value on a recurring basis using Level 3 inputs changed as follows:
Non Recurring Fair Value Measurements - Loans
Loans which Newcastle does not have the ability or intent to hold into the foreseeable future are classified as held-for-sale. Held-for-sale loans are carried at the lower of amortized cost or fair value and are therefore recorded at fair value on a non-recurring basis. These loans were written down to fair value at the time of the impairment, based on broker quotations, pricing service quotations or internal pricing models. All the loans were within Level 3 of the fair value hierarchy. For real estate related and other loans, the most significant inputs used in the valuations are the amount and timing of expected future cash flows, market yields and the estimated collateral value of such loan investments. For residential mortgage loans, significant inputs include management’s expectations of prepayment speeds, default rates, loss severities and discount rates that market participants would use in determining the fair values of similar pools of residential mortgage loans.
The following tables summarize certain information for real estate related and other loans as well as for residential mortgage loans held-for-sale as of December 31, 2015:
Liabilities for Which Fair Value is Only Disclosed
The following table summarizes the level of the fair value hierarchy, valuation techniques and inputs used for estimating each class of liabilities not measured at fair value in the statement of financial position but for which fair value is disclosed:
The entire disclosure for the fair value of financial instruments (as defined), including financial assets and financial liabilities (collectively, as defined), and the measurements of those instruments as well as disclosures related to the fair value of non-financial assets and liabilities. Such disclosures about the financial instruments, assets, and liabilities would include: (1) the fair value of the required items together with their carrying amounts (as appropriate); (2) for items for which it is not practicable to estimate fair value, disclosure would include: (a) information pertinent to estimating fair value (including, carrying amount, effective interest rate, and maturity, and (b) the reasons why it is not practicable to estimate fair value; (3) significant concentrations of credit risk including: (a) information about the activity, region, or economic characteristics identifying a concentration, (b) the maximum amount of loss the entity is exposed to based on the gross fair value of the related item, (c) policy for requiring collateral or other security and information as to accessing such collateral or security, and (d) the nature and brief description of such collateral or security; (4) quantitative information about market risks and how such risks are managed; (5) for items measured on both a recurring and nonrecurring basis information regarding the inputs used to develop the fair value measurement; and (6) for items presented in the financial statement for which fair value measurement is elected: (a) information necessary to understand the reasons for the election, (b) discussion of the effect of fair value changes on earnings, (c) a description of [similar groups] items for which the election is made and the relation thereof to the balance sheet, the aggregate carrying value of items included in the balance sheet that are not eligible for the election; (7) all other required (as defined) and desired information.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef