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The Pricing of Mortgages by Brokers: An Agency Problem?

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  • Michael LaCour-Little

    () (California State University, Fullerton Fullerton, CA 92831)

Abstract

Mortgage brokers have grown in importance in the home mortgage origination process in recent years suggesting they provide a valuable service matching borrowers and lenders, although their involvement has also been linked to the recent surge in mortgage defaults and foreclosures. As in other markets dominated by brokers, agents' incentives are often poorly aligned with those with whom they do business, in this case both the lenders who bear the risks once the loan is originated and the consumer who assumes liability for the debt and contract terms. In this paper, we describe the institutional arrangements under which mortgage brokers operate and empirically test whether loans originated by mortgage brokers are lower in cost than those that would be available directly from retail lenders. Results suggest loans originated by brokers cost borrowers about 20 basis points more, on average, than retail loans and that this premium is higher for lower-income and lower credit score borrowers.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael LaCour-Little, 2009. "The Pricing of Mortgages by Brokers: An Agency Problem?," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 31(2), pages 235-264.
  • Handle: RePEc:jre:issued:v:31:n:2:2009:p:235-264
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Michael LaCour-Little & Gregory H. Chun, 1999. "Third Party Originators and Mortgage Prepayment Risk: An Agency Problem?," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 17(1), pages 55-70.
    2. Lisa L. Posey & Abdullah Yavas, 2007. "Screening equilibria in experimental markets," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 32(2), pages 147-167, December.
    3. Morris M. Kleiner & Richard M. Todd, 2009. "Mortgage Broker Regulations That Matter: Analyzing Earnings, Employment, and Outcomes for Consumers," NBER Chapters,in: Studies of Labor Market Intermediation, pages 183-231 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. R.C. Rutherford & T.M. Springer & A. Yavas, 2004. "The Impacts of Contract Type on Broker Performance: Submarket Effects," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 26(3), pages 277-298.
    5. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    6. Marsha J. Courchane, 2007. "The Pricing of Home Mortgage Loans to Minority Borrowers: How Much of the APR Differential Can We Explain?," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 29(4), pages 399-440.
    7. Yavas, Abdullah, 1992. "Marketmakers versus matchmakers," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 33-58, March.
    8. Morris M. Kleiner & Richard M. Todd, 2007. "Mortgage Broker Regulations That Matter: Analyzing Earnings, Employment, and Outcomes for Consumers," NBER Working Papers 13684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Marsha Courchane & Rajeev Darolia & Peter Zorn, 2012. "Broker Compensation Patterns and Trends: 2005–2009," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 40(3), pages 229-251, September.
    2. Brent W. Ambrose & James N. Conklin, 2014. "Mortgage Brokers, Origination Fees, Price Transparency and Competition," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 42(2), pages 363-421, June.
    3. repec:ire:issued:v:20:n:03:2017:p:325-348 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

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

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