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Dynamics of Housing Debt in the Recent Boom and Great Recession

In: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2017, volume 32


  • Manuel Adelino
  • Antoinette Schoar
  • Felipe Severino


This paper documents a number of key facts about the evolution of mortgage debt, homeownership, debt burden, and subsequent delinquency during the recent housing boom and Great Recession. We show that the mortgage expansion was shared across the entire income distribution; that is, the flow and stock of debt rose across all income groups (except for the top 5%). The mortgage expansion was especially pronounced in areas with increased house prices, and the speed at which houses turned over (churn) in these areas went up significantly. However, the average loan-to-value ratios (LTV) at origination did not increase over the boom period. While homeownership rates increased for the middle- and upper-income households, there was no increase in homeownership for the lowest income groups. Finally, default rates postcrisis went up predominantly in areas with large house price drops, especially for high-income and high-FICO borrowers. These results are consistent with a view that the run-up in mortgage debt over the precrisis period was driven by rising home values and expectations of increasing prices.
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Suggested Citation

  • Manuel Adelino & Antoinette Schoar & Felipe Severino, 2017. "Dynamics of Housing Debt in the Recent Boom and Great Recession," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2017, volume 32, pages 265-311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:13919

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    Cited by:

    1. Manuel Adelino & William B. McCartney & Antoinette Schoar, 2020. "The Role of Government and Private Institutions in Credit Cycles in the U.S. Mortgage Market," NBER Working Papers 27499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Nadav Ben Zeev, 2019. "Adjustable-Rate Mortgages, Systematic Monetary Policy, And The Root Cause Of The Financial Crisis," Working Papers 1908, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
    3. Adam J. Levitin & Desen Lin & Susan M. Wachter, 2020. "Mortgage Risk Premiums during the Housing Bubble," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 60(4), pages 421-468, May.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages


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