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The Government-Sponsored Enterprises and the mortgage crisis: the role of the affordable housing goals

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  • Valentin Bolotnyy

Abstract

The U.S. mortgage crisis that began in 2007 generated questions about the role played by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), in its causes. Some have claimed that the Affordable Housing Goals (AHGs), introduced by Congress through the GSE Act of 1992, and the resulting purchases of single-family mortgages the GSEs made to meet those goals, drove lending to high-risk borrowers. Using regression discontinuity analysis, I measure the effect of one of the goals, the Underserved Areas Goal (UAG), on the number of whole single-family mortgages purchased by the GSEs in targeted census tracts from 1996 to 2002. Focusing additionally on tracts that became UAG-eligible in 2005-2006, when the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) began to determine eligibility using the 2000 Census, I measure the effect of the UAG on the GSEs' whole single-family mortgage purchases during peak years for the subprime mortgage market. Under the first approach, I estimate that the GSEs purchased 0 to 3 percent more goal-eligible mortgages than they would have without the UAG in place. Under the second approach, I estimate this effect to be 2.5 to 5 percent. The results suggest a small UAG effect and challenge the view that the goals caused the GSEs to supply substantially more credit to high-risk borrowers than they otherwise would have supplied. Although the goals may have spurred the GSEs to purchase more multi-family mortgages and REMICs than they otherwise would have, my analyses suggest that the GSEs' purchases of whole single-family mortgages to satisfy the goals did not drive the subprime lending boom of 2002-2006.

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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 2012-25.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2012-25

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  1. Wayne Passmore & Shane M. Sherlund & Gillian Burgess, 2005. "The effect of housing government-sponsored enterprises on mortgage rates," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-06, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. repec:aei:rpaper:26126 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Ambrose, Brent W & Warga, Arthur, 2002. "Measuring Potential GSE Funding Advantages," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 25(2-3), pages 129-50, Sept.-Dec.
  4. Wayne Passmore & Shane M. Sherlund & Gillian Burgess, 2005. "The Effect of Housing Government-Sponsored Enterprises on Mortgage Rates," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 33(3), pages 427-463, 09.
  5. Peter J. Wallison, 2011. "A dissent from the majority report of the financial crisis inquiry commission," Proceedings 1118, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  6. Ambrose, Brent W. & Thibodeau, Thomas G., 2004. "Have the GSE affordable housing goals increased the supply of mortgage credit?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 263-273, May.
  7. Ambrose, Brent W. & Pennington-Cross, Anthony, 2000. "Local economic risk factors and the primary and secondary mortgage markets," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 683-701, December.
  8. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
  9. Diana Hancock & Andreas Lehnert & Wayne Passmore & Shane M. Sherlund, 2006. "The competitive effects of risk-based bank capital regulation: an example from U.S. mortgage markets," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-46, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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