Do Mortgage Rates Vary Based on Household Default Characteristics? Evidence on Rate Sorting and Credit Rationing
Credit "screening models" suggest that lenders vary loan rates and debt ceilings across applicants on the basis of credit risk. We argue that regulatory constraints such as Fair Lending Laws may preclude rate sorting while increasing lender use of debt ceilings to adjust for applicant credit risk. Using household data from the 1983 SCF, we find that mortgage rates do not vary with applicant credit risk whereas related studies find that debt ceilings vary with borrower risk attributes. Together, these findings support arguments that regulatory constraints reduce rate sorting while increasing the use of non-price terms in the mortgage contract. Copyright 1994 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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