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Subprime mortgage pricing: the impact of race, ethnicity, and gender on the cost of borrowing

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  • Andrew Haughwout
  • Christopher Mayer
  • Joseph Tracy

Abstract

Some observers have argued that minority borrowers and neighborhoods were targeted for expensive credit in 2004-06, the peak period for subprime lending. To investigate this claim, we take advantage of a new data set that merges demographic information on subprime borrowers with information on the mortgages they took out. In a sample of more than 75,000 adjustable-rate mortgages, we find no evidence of adverse pricing by race, ethnicity, or gender in either the initial rate or the reset margin. Indeed, if any pricing differential exists, minority borrowers appear to pay slightly lower rates, as do those borrowers in Zip codes with a larger percentage of black or Hispanic residents or a higher unemployment rate. Mortgage rates are also lower in locations that previously had higher rates of house price appreciation. These results suggest some economies of scale in subprime lending. Yet there are important caveats: we are unable to measure points and fees at loan origination, and the data do not indicate whether borrowers might have qualified for less expensive conforming mortgages.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 368.

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Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:368

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Related research

Keywords: Subprime mortgage ; Discrimination in mortgage loans;

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References

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  1. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst, 2002. "The Transition To Home Ownership And The Black-White Wealth Gap," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 281-297, May.
  2. Alicia H. Munnell, 1992. "Mortgage lending in Boston: interpreting HMDA data," Working Papers 92-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  3. Gabriel, Stuart A. & Rosenthal, Stuart S., 2005. "Homeownership in the 1980s and 1990s: aggregate trends and racial gaps," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 101-127, January.
  4. repec:fip:fedgws:v.93 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Andrew Haughwout & Richard Peach & Joseph Tracy, 2008. "Juvenile delinquent mortgages: bad credit or bad economy?," Staff Reports 341, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  6. Bucks, Brian & Pence, Karen, 2008. "Do borrowers know their mortgage terms?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 218-233, September.
  7. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst & Melvin Stephens, 2008. "Rates for Vehicle Loans: Race and Loan Source," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 315-20, May.
  8. Christopher J. Mayer & Karen Pence, 2008. "Subprime Mortgages: What, Where, and to Whom?," NBER Working Papers 14083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Robert B. Avery & Kenneth P. Brevoort & Glenn B. Canner, 2007. "The 2006 HMDA data," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Sep, pages A73-A109.
  10. repec:fip:fedgws:y:2007:i:sep:n:v.93 is not listed on IDEAS
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Cited by:
  1. Chan, Sewin & Gedal, Michael & Been, Vicki & Haughwout, Andrew, 2013. "The role of neighborhood characteristics in mortgage default risk: Evidence from New York City," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 100-118.
  2. Kusum Mundra, 2013. "Minority and Immigrant Homeownership Experience: Evidence from the 2009 American Housing Survey," Working Papers Rutgers University, Newark 2013-001, Department of Economics, Rutgers University, Newark.
  3. Bhardwaj, Geetesh & Sengupta, Rajdeep, 2012. "Subprime mortgage design," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 1503-1519.
  4. Ruben Hernandez & Michael Owyang & Andra Ghent, 2011. "Race and Subprime Loan Pricing," ERSA conference papers ersa11p923, European Regional Science Association.

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