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Why Do Borrowers Choose Adjustable-Rate Mortgages over Fixed-Rate Mortgages? : A Behavioral Investigation

Author

Listed:
  • Masaki Mori

    () (International University of Japan)

  • Julian Diaz III

    () (Georgia State University)

  • Alan J. Ziobrowski

    () (Georgia State University)

Abstract

A considerable number of U.S. borrowers still choose adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) over fixed rate mortgages (FRMs) even when interest rates are historically very low. This study examines the psychological reasons for the popularity of ARMs by testing the Prospect theory’s reflection hypothesis. Experiments are conducted using business professionals. The results suggest that psychological factors may explain why ARM borrowers tend to ignore the associated risk factors, focusing heavily upon pricing factors when choosing mortgage type. The results also indicate that borrowers may be viewing mortgage selection as part of a positive choice; namely, acquiring a home.

Suggested Citation

  • Masaki Mori & Julian Diaz III & Alan J. Ziobrowski, 2009. "Why Do Borrowers Choose Adjustable-Rate Mortgages over Fixed-Rate Mortgages? : A Behavioral Investigation," International Real Estate Review, Asian Real Estate Society, vol. 12(2), pages 98-120.
  • Handle: RePEc:ire:issued:v:12:n:02:2009:p:98-120
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jan K. Brueckner, 1993. "Why Do We Have ARMs?," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 21(3), pages 333-345.
    2. Dhillon, Upinder S & Shilling, James D & Sirmans, C F, 1987. "Choosing between Fixed and Adjustable Rate Mortgages: A Note," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 19(2), pages 260-267, May.
    3. John Y. Campbell & João F. Cocco, 2003. "Household Risk Management and Optimal Mortgage Choice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1449-1494.
    4. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    5. Richard A. Phillips & James H. VanderHoff, 1994. "Alternative Mortgage Instruments, Qualification Constraints and the Demand for Housing: An Empirical Analysis," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 22(3), pages 453-477.
    6. Jones, Steven T. & Miller, Norman G. & Riddiough, Timothy J., 1995. "Residential Mortgage Choice: Does the Supply Side Matter?," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 71-90, March.
    7. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Juergen Schupp & Gert Wagner, 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," Working Papers 2096, The Field Experiments Website.
    8. Brent W. Ambrose & Michael LaCour-Little & Zsuzsa R. Huszar, 2005. "A Note on Hybrid Mortgages," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 33(4), pages 765-782, December.
    9. James VanderHoff, 1996. "Adjustable and Fixed Rate Mortgage Termination, Option Values and Local Market Conditions: An Empirical Analysis," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 24(3), pages 379-406.
    10. David Leece, 2001. "Regressive Interest Rate Expectations and Mortgage Instrument Choice in the United Kingdom Housing Market," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 29(4), pages 589-613.
    11. Julian Diaz & Marvin L. Wolverton, 1998. "A Longitudinal Examination of the Appraisal Smoothing Hypothesis," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 26(2), pages 349-358.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Adjustable-rate mortgage; Fixed-rate mortgage; Prospect theory; Reflection hypothesis; Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • L85 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Real Estate Services

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