Relocation Opportunities and Mortgage Default
This paper presents a theoretical model of residential mortgage default when borrowers face beneficial as well as costly relocation opportunities. It amplifies and extends previous work by providing explicit conditions leading to default. The model also establishes when a borrower's relocation decision and default decision are dependent and when they are not.A central result is that there is a range of book equity wherein the decision to default is not determined solely by the current level of equity or the borrower's ability to continue the mortgage payments. Rather, various costs and benefits, both tangible and intangible, enter into the decision. Specific conditions are identified that lead to relocation without default, default and relocation, and no default or relocation. The effects of changes in the variables upon default probability are presented.Assuming that the borrower does not wish to retain ownership in the property, the model also predicts whether an individual borrower will choose prepayment or default when a relocation is made. The choice depends on the value of the relocation opportunity faced by the borrower, as well as financial variables such as house value, mortgage balance, and transaction costs. This finding suggests that existing empirical analyses of default may have omitted explanatory variables. Copyright American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association.
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Volume (Year): 17 (1989)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
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