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Did the Federal Reserve's MBS purchase program lower mortgage rates?

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  • Hancock, Diana
  • Passmore, Wayne

Abstract

On November 25, 2008, the Federal Reserve announced it would purchase mortgage-backed securities (MBS). This program affected mortgage rates through three channels: (1) improved market functioning in both primary and secondary mortgage markets, (2) clearer government backing for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and (3) anticipation of portfolio rebalancing effects. We use empirical pricing models for MBS yields and for mortgage rates to measure relative importance of channels: The first two were important during the height of the financial crisis, but the effects of the third depended on market conditions. Overall, the program put significant downward pressure on mortgage rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Hancock, Diana & Passmore, Wayne, 2011. "Did the Federal Reserve's MBS purchase program lower mortgage rates?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(5), pages 498-514.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:58:y:2011:i:5:p:498-514
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jmoneco.2011.05.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Heuson, Andrea & Passmore, Wayne & Sparks, Roger, 2001. "Credit Scoring and Mortgage Securitization: Implications for Mortgage Rates and Credit Availability," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 337-363, November.
    2. Johannes C. Stroebel & John B. Taylor, 2009. "Estimated Impact of the Fed's Mortgage-Backed Securities Purchase Program," NBER Working Papers 15626, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    4. Andreas Fuster & Paul S. Willen, 2010. "$1.25 Trillion is still real money : some facts about the effects of the Federal Reserve’s mortgage market investments," Public Policy Discussion Paper 10-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    5. Diana Hancock & Wayne Passmore, 2010. "An analysis of government guarantees and the functioning of asset-backed securities markets," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-46, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    7. Joseph E. Gagnon & Matthew Raskin & Julie Remache & Brian P. Sack, 2011. "Large-scale asset purchases by the Federal Reserve: did they work?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 41-59.
    8. Roberto Perli & Brian P. Sack, 2003. "Does mortgage hedging amplify movements in long-term interest rates?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-49, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    9. Hancock, Diana & Passmore, Wayne, 2011. "Did the Federal Reserve's MBS purchase program lower mortgage rates?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(5), pages 498-514.
    10. Jefferson Duarte, 2008. "The Causal Effect of Mortgage Refinancing on Interest Rate Volatility: Empirical Evidence and Theoretical Implications," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(4), pages 1689-1731, July.
    11. AfDB AfDB, . "AfDB Group Annual Report 2008," Annual Report, African Development Bank, number 64 edited by Koua Louis Kouakou.
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    Keywords

    MBS; Federal Reserve; GSEs; Mortgage;

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