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Mortgage convexity

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  • Hanson, Samuel G.

Abstract

Most home mortgages in the United States are fixed-rate loans with an embedded prepayment option. When long-term rates decline, the effective duration of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) falls due to heightened refinancing expectations. I show that these changes in MBS duration function as large-scale shocks to the quantity of interest rate risk that must be borne by professional bond investors. I develop a simple model in which the risk tolerance of bond investors is limited in the short run, so these fluctuations in MBS duration generate significant variation in bond risk premia. Specifically, bond risk premia are high when aggregate MBS duration is high. The model offers an explanation for why long-term rates could appear to be excessively sensitive to movements in short rates and explains how changes in MBS duration act as a positive-feedback mechanism that amplifies interest rate volatility. I find strong support for these predictions in the time series of US government bond returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Hanson, Samuel G., 2014. "Mortgage convexity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 270-299.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:113:y:2014:i:2:p:270-299
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2014.05.002
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    Cited by:

    1. King, Thomas B., 2019. "Expectation and duration at the effective lower bound," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(3), pages 736-760.
    2. Andrew J Fieldhouse & Karel Mertens & Morten O Ravn, 2018. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Government Asset Purchases: Evidence from Postwar U.S. Housing Credit Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 133(3), pages 1503-1560.
    3. Mikhail Chernov & Brett R. Dunn & Francis A. Longstaff, 2018. "Macroeconomic-Driven Prepayment Risk and the Valuation of Mortgage-Backed Securities," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 31(3), pages 1132-1183.
    4. Dimitri Vayanos & Jean‐Luc Vila, 2021. "A Preferred‐Habitat Model of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 89(1), pages 77-112, January.
    5. Robin Greenwood & Samuel G. Hanson & Dimitri Vayanos, 2016. "Forward Guidance in the Yield Curve: Short Rates versus Bond Supply," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Elías Albagli & Diego Saravia & Michael Woodford (ed.),Monetary Policy through Asset Markets: Lessons from Unconventional Measures and Implications for an Integrated World, edition 1, volume 24, chapter 2, pages 011-062, Central Bank of Chile.
    6. Dietrich Domanski & Hyun Song Shin & Vladyslav Sushko, 2017. "The Hunt for Duration: Not Waving but Drowning?," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 65(1), pages 113-153, April.
    7. Paul Whelan & Gyuri Venter & Andrea Vedolin & Matteo Leombroni, 2017. "Central Bank Communication and the Yield Curve," 2017 Meeting Papers 844, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Sven Klingler & Suresh Sundaresan, 2018. "An explanation of negative swap spreads: demand for duration from underfunded pension plans," BIS Working Papers 705, Bank for International Settlements.
    9. Hanson, Samuel G. & Stein, Jeremy C., 2015. "Monetary policy and long-term real rates," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(3), pages 429-448.
    10. J. Christina Wang, 2017. "Banks' search for yield in the low interest rate environment: a tale of regulatory adaptation," Working Papers 17-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bond return predictability; Duration; Mortgage-backed securities; Mortgage refinancing;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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