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What motivates a subprime borrower to default?

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  • Daglish, Toby

Abstract

This paper uses a real options approach to analyse the exercise of the default option embedded in mortgages. In particular, it examines a subprime household who borrows at a premium, but hopes to refinance at prime rates if their house appreciates. We show how these optimal default decisions can be used to calculate probabilities of default - an important input for risk management and pricing purposes. Numerical examples are provided, calibrated to US data. In a low interest rate environment, the credit-upgrade potential may discourage subprime borrowers from defaulting. However, default probabilities are highly sensitive to changes in interest rates and house prices. This provides a rational explanation for the prevalence of adjustable rate mortgages among subprime borrowers, and the subsequent large numbers of defaults, when interest rates rose and house prices declined.

Suggested Citation

  • Daglish, Toby, 2009. "What motivates a subprime borrower to default?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 681-693, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:33:y:2009:i:4:p:681-693
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    1. Anthony Pennington-Cross & Souphala Chomsisengphet, 2007. "Subprime Refinancing: Equity Extraction and Mortgage Termination," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, pages 233-263.
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    Cited by:

    1. Xie, Yan Alice & Liu, Sheen & Wu, Chunchi & Anderson, Bing, 2009. "The effects of default and call risk on bond duration," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1700-1708, September.
    2. Tajik, Mohammad & Aliakbari, Saeideh & Ghalia, Thaana & Kaffash, Sepideh, 2015. "House prices and credit risk: Evidence from the United States," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 123-135.
    3. Ebrahim, M. Shahid & Shackleton, Mark B. & Wojakowski, Rafal M., 2011. "Participating mortgages and the efficiency of financial intermediation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 3042-3054, November.
    4. McCollum, Meagan N. & Lee, Hong & Pace, R. Kelley, 2015. "Deleveraging and mortgage curtailment," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 60-75.
    5. Bhardwaj, Geetesh & Sengupta, Rajdeep, 2012. "Subprime mortgage design," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 1503-1519.
    6. Poitras, Geoffrey & Zanotti, Giovanna, 2016. "Mortgage contract design and systemic risk immunization," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 320-331.
    7. repec:bap:journl:170404 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Hao Meng & Wei-Xing Zhou & Didier Sornette, 2014. "Symmetric thermal optimal path and time-dependent lead-lag relationship: Novel statistical tests and application to UK and US real-estate and monetary policies," Papers 1408.5618, arXiv.org.
    9. Cécile Bastidon, 2014. "Households credits and financial stability," Post-Print hal-01021280, HAL.
    10. Pan, Huiran & Wang, Chun, 2013. "House prices, bank instability, and economic growth: Evidence from the threshold model," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1720-1732.
    11. Mundra, Kusum, 2013. "Minority and Immigrant Homeownership Experience: Evidence from the 2009 American Housing Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 7131, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Grant, Charles, 2010. "Evidence on the insurance effect of bankruptcy exemptions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 2247-2254, September.
    13. António Miguel Martins & Ana Paula Serra & Francisco Vitorino Martins & Simon Stevenson, "undated". "Residential Property Loans and Bank Performance during Property Price Booms: Evidence from Europe," Real Estate & Planning Working Papers rep-wp2014-05, Henley Business School, Reading University.
    14. Mundra, Kusum & Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth, 2013. "Determinants of Immigrant Homeownership: Examining their Changing Role during the Great Recession and Beyond," IZA Discussion Papers 7468, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Moscone, Francesco & Tosetti, Elisa & Canepa, Alessandra, 2014. "Real estate market and financial stability in US metropolitan areas: A dynamic model with spatial effects," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 129-146.
    16. Koetter, Michael & Poghosyan, Tigran, 2010. "Real estate prices and bank stability," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1129-1138, June.
    17. Büyükkarabacak, Berrak & Valev, Neven T., 2010. "The role of household and business credit in banking crises," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1247-1256, June.

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    Keywords

    Mortgages Real options Default risk;

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