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Decomposing the foreclosure crisis: House price depreciation versus bad underwriting

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  • Kristopher Gerardi
  • Adam Hale Shapiro
  • Paul S. Willen

Abstract

We estimate a model of foreclosure using a data set that includes every residential mortgage, purchase-and-sale, and foreclosure transaction in Massachusetts from 1989 to 2008. We address the identification issues related to the estimation of the effects of house prices on residential foreclosures. We then use the model to study the dramatic increase in foreclosures that occurred in Massachusetts between 2005 and 2008 and conclude that the foreclosure crisis was primarily driven by the severe decline in housing prices that began in the latter part of 2005, not by a relaxation of underwriting standards on which much of the prevailing literature has focused. We argue that relaxed underwriting standards did severely aggravate the crisis by creating a class of homeowners who were particularly vulnerable to the decline in prices. But, as we show in our counterfactual analysis, that emergence alone, in the absence of a price collapse, would not have resulted in the substantial foreclosure boom that was experienced.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series Working Paper with number 2009-25.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2009-25

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  2. Deng, Yongheng & Quigley, John M., 2004. "Woodhead Behavior and the Pricing of Residential Mortgages," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt85q0w8xj, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
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  14. William H. Rogers & William Winter, 2009. "The Impact of Foreclosures on Neighboring Housing Sales," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 31(4), pages 455-480.
  15. Anthony Pennington-Cross & Giang Ho, 2006. "The termination of subprime hybrid and fixed rate mortgages," Working Papers 2006-042, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  16. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller, 1987. "Prices of single-family homes since 1970: new indexes for four cities," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Sep, pages 45-56.
  17. Sueyoshi, Glenn T., 1992. "Semiparametric proportional hazards estimation of competing risks models with time-varying covariates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 25-58.
  18. Tammy Leonard & James Murdoch, 2009. "The neighborhood effects of foreclosure," Journal of Geographical Systems, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 317-332, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Martins-da-Rocha, V. Filipe & Vailakis, Yiannis, 2012. "Endogenous debt constraints in collateralized economies with default penalties," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 1-13.
  2. Kristopher Gerardi & Eric Rosenblatt & Paul S. Willen & Vincent Yao, 2012. "Foreclosure externalities: Some new evidence," NBER Working Papers 18353, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kristopher Gerardi & Lorenz Goette & Stephan Meier, 2010. "Financial literacy and subprime mortgage delinquency: evidence from a survey matched to administrative data," Working Paper 2010-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

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