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How Do Mortgage Rate Resets Affect Consumer Spending and Debt Repayment? Evidence from Canadian Consumers


  • Katya Kartashova
  • Xiaoqing Zhou


We study the causal effect of mortgage rate changes on consumer spending, debt repayment, and defaults during an expansionary and a contractionary monetary policy episode in Canada. Our identification takes advantage of the fact that the interest rates of short-term fixed-rate mortgages (the dominant product in Canada’s mortgage market) have to be reset according to the prevailing market interest rates at predetermined time intervals. Our empirical strategy exploits this exogenous variation in the timing of mortgage rate resets. We find asymmetric responses of consumer durable spending, deleveraging, and defaults. These results can be rationalized by the cash-flow effect in conjunction with changes in consumers’ expectations about future interest rates. Our findings help us to understand the responses of the household sector to changes in the interest rate, especially in countries where variable-rate, adjustable-rate, and short-term fixed-rate mortgages are prevalent.

Suggested Citation

  • Katya Kartashova & Xiaoqing Zhou, 2020. "How Do Mortgage Rate Resets Affect Consumer Spending and Debt Repayment? Evidence from Canadian Consumers," Staff Working Papers 20-18, Bank of Canada.
  • Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:20-18

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tullio Jappelli & Annalisa Scognamiglio, 2018. "Interest rate changes, mortgages, and consumption: evidence from Italy," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 33(94), pages 183-224.
    2. Anthony A. Defusco & John Mondragon, 2020. "No Job, No Money, No Refi: Frictions to Refinancing in a Recession," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 75(5), pages 2327-2376, October.
    3. Kadiri Karamon & Douglas McManus & Jun Zhu, 2017. "Refinance and Mortgage Default: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis of HARP’s Impact on Default Rates," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 55(4), pages 457-475, November.
    4. Helen Hughson & Gianni La Cava & Paul Ryan & Penelope Smith, 2016. "The Household Cash Flow Channel of Monetary Policy," RBA Bulletin (Print copy discontinued), Reserve Bank of Australia, pages 21-30, September.
    5. Jason Allen & Robert Clark & Jean-François Houde, 2014. "Price Dispersion in Mortgage Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(3), pages 377-416, September.
    6. James Cloyne & Clodomiro Ferreira & Paolo Surico, 2020. "Monetary Policy when Households have Debt: New Evidence on the Transmission Mechanism," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(1), pages 102-129.
    7. Bing Chen & Frank P. Stafford, 2019. "A Farewell to ARMs or Ever Changing Market Segments?," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 59(4), pages 649-672, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Katya Kartashova, 2020. "The Effect of Mortgage Rate Resets on Debt: Evidence from TransUnion (Part I)," Staff Analytical Notes 2020-2, Bank of Canada.

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    More about this item


    Credit and credit aggregates; Interest rates; Monetary policy; Transmission of monetary policy;

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • 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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