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Second Mortgages and Household Saving

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  • Joyce M. Manchester
  • James M. Poterba

Abstract

Second mortgages accounted for 10.8% of the stock of outstanding mortgage debt at the end of 1987, up from 3.6% at the beginning of the 198Os. This paper investigates the determinants of second mortgage borrowing and the characteristics of second mortgage borrowers. We first calculate the outstanding stock of home equity that remains to be borrowed against on tax-preferred terms, recognizing the limits on interest deductions in the 1986 Tax Reform Act and the 1987 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. Despite these limits, we estimate that more than two trillion dollars of housing equity remains to be borrowed against by current homeowners. We then present cross-sectional evidence suggesting that households who obtain second mortgages after purchasing a home ace less wealthy than other households with similar characteristics. Each dollar of second mortgage borrowing is associated with a seventy-five cent reduction in household net worth. While these results cannot be given a causal interpretation, they are consistent with the view that increased access to second mortgages has reduced personal saving.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2853.

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Date of creation: Feb 1989
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Publication status: published as Regional Science and Urban Economics, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 325-346, (1989).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2853

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  1. Lawrence Summers & Chris Carroll, 1987. "Why Is U.S. National Saving So Low?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(2), pages 607-642.
  2. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Weil, David N., 1989. "The baby boom, the baby bust, and the housing market," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 235-258, May.
  3. Glenn B. Canner & James T. Fergus & Charles A. Luckett, 1988. "Home equity lines of credit," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jun, pages 361-373.
  4. King, M A & Dicks-Mireaux, L-D L, 1982. "Asset Holdings and the Life-Cycle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(366), pages 247-67, June.
  5. Louis-David L. Dicks-Mireaux & Mervyn A. King, 1983. "Portfolio Composition and Pension Wealth: An Econometric Study," NBER Chapters, in: Financial Aspects of the United States Pension System, pages 399-440 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Mervyn A. King & Louis Dicks-Mireaux, 1981. "Asset Holdings and the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 0614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Quigley, John M, 1987. "Interest Rate Variations, Mortgage Prepayments and Household Mobility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(4), pages 636-43, November.
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