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Sales of Distressed Residential Property: What Have We Learned from Recent Research?

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  • Jeffrey P. Cohen
  • Cletus C. Coughlin
  • Vincent W. Yao

Abstract

During the housing bust many homeowners found themselves ?underwater??the amount they owed on their mortgages exceeded the value of the associated property?and they either could not or possibly chose not to stay current on their mortgage payments. As a consequence, sales of so-called distressed properties, often after a foreclosure, became commonplace. This spurred numerous research papers on various related issues. The authors? review summarizes the research findings on three topics: the impact of changes in housing prices on foreclosures; the impact of foreclosure on the sales price of the foreclosed house; and the impact of foreclosure on the sales prices of nearby houses. Not surprisingly, declining housing prices are associated with increasing foreclosure rates; however, various other factors, such as a job loss or expected housing prices, can also play an important role. This review highlights various theoretical and econometric issues that have raised doubts about the accuracy of estimated price impacts of foreclosures and led to numerous refinements of the subsequent empirical analysis. Estimates of the own foreclosure discount generally range from near zero to 28 percent, with most estimates greater than 12 percent. Estimates of the discount resulting from spillover effects of nearby foreclosed houses are generally less than 2 percent and diminish rapidly with distance.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey P. Cohen & Cletus C. Coughlin & Vincent W. Yao, 2016. "Sales of Distressed Residential Property: What Have We Learned from Recent Research?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 98(3), pages 159-188.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:00060
    DOI: 10.20955/r.2016.159-188
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    1. Chomsisengphet, Souphala & Kiefer, Hua & Liu, Xiaodong, 2018. "Spillover effects in home mortgage defaults: Identifying the power neighbor," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 68-82.
    2. Wentland, Scott A. & Ancona, Zachary H. & Bagstad, Kenneth J. & Boyd, James & Hass, Julie L. & Gindelsky, Marina & Moulton, Jeremy G., 2020. "Accounting for land in the United States: Integrating physical land cover, land use, and monetary valuation," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 46(C).
    3. Jeffrey P. Cohen & Cletus C. Coughlin & Jonas C. Crews, 2018. "Interregional Migration and Housing Vacancy: Theory and Empirics," Working Papers 2018-007, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 16 Oct 2020.
    4. Jeffrey P. Cohen & Cletus C. Coughlin & Daniel Soques, 2019. "House Price Growth Interdependencies and Comovement," Working Papers 2019-028, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 11 Jan 2021.

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    JEL classification:

    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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