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Choice of mortgage contracts: evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances

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  • Brahima Coulibaly
  • Geng Li
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Abstract

This study revisits the empirical question of the determinants of the choice between fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages using more comprehensive data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) that overcome some of the data limitations in previous studies. The results from a Logit model of mortgage choice indicate that pricing variables and affordability are important considerations. We also find that factors such as mobility expectations, income volatility, and attitudes toward financial risk largely influence mortgage choice, with more risk-averse borrowers preferring fixed-rate mortgages. For households that are less risk averse, the mortgage type choice decision is less sensitive to pricing variables and income volatility, and affordability factors are not significant. These findings provide empirical support that underscore the importance of attitudes toward risks in mortgage choice.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2007-50.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2007-50

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Keywords: Mortgage loans ; Consumer behavior;

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References

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  1. Statman, Meir, 1982. "Fixed Rate or Index-Linked Mortgages from the Borrower's Point of View: A Note," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(03), pages 451-457, September.
  2. Brian Bucks & Karen Pence, 2006. "Do homeowners know their house values and mortgage terms?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-03, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Stanton, Richard & Wallace, Nancy, 1999. "Anatomy of an ARM: The Interest-Rate Risk of Adjustable-Rate Mortgages," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 49-67, July.
  4. Barsky, Robert B, et al, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-79, May.
  5. Nothaft, Frank E & Wang, George H K, 1992. "Determinants of the ARM Share of National and Regional Lending," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 219-34, June.
  6. Baesel, Jerome B. & Biger, Nahum, 1980. "The Allocation of Risk: Some Implications of Fixed versus Index-Linked Mortgages," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(02), pages 457-468, June.
  7. Joao Cocco & John Campbell, 2004. "Household Risk Management and Optimal Mortgage Choice," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 632, Econometric Society.
  8. Donald J. Smith, 1987. "The Borrower's Choice between Fixed and Adjustable Rate Loan Contracts," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 15(2), pages 110-116.
  9. Dhillon, Upinder S & Shilling, James D & Sirmans, C F, 1987. "Choosing between Fixed and Adjustable Rate Mortgages: A Note," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 19(2), pages 260-67, May.
  10. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Brueckner, Jan K & Follain, James R, 1988. "The Rise and Fall of the ARM: An Econometric Analysis of Mortgage Choice," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(1), pages 93-102, February.
  12. Sa-Aadu, J & Sirmans, C F, 1995. "Differentiated Contracts, Heterogeneous Borrowers, and the Mortgage Choice Decision," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(2), pages 498-510, May.
  13. Alm, James & Follain, James R., 1984. "Alternative Mortgage Instruments, the Tilt Problem, and Consumer Welfare," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(01), pages 113-126, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Söderberg, Inga-Lill & Wester, Misse, 2012. "Lay actions in the face of crisis—Swedish citizens’ actions in response to the global financial crisis of 2008," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 796-805.
  2. Michael Seiler, 2014. "The Effect of Perceived Lender Characteristics and Market Conditions on Strategic Mortgage Defaults," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 256-270, February.
  3. Frank P. Stafford & Erik Hurst & Bing Chen, 2012. "Diminishing Margins: Housing Market Declines and Family Financial Responses," Working Papers wp276, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  4. Kathleen W. Johnson & Geng Li, 2011. "Are adjustable-rate mortgage borrowers borrowing constrained?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-21, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Geng Li & Paul A. Smith, 2008. "Borrowing from yourself: 401(k) loans and household balance sheets," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2008-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Michael Ehrmann & Michael Ziegelmeyer, 2014. "Household Risk Management and Actual Mortgage Choice in the Euro Area," Working Papers 14-1, Bank of Canada.
  7. Furlong, Frederick T. & Takhtamanova, Yelena & Lang, David, 2014. "Mortgage choice in the housing boom: impacts of house price appreciation and borrower type," Working Paper Series 2014-5, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

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