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The effect of foreclosure regulation: Evidence for the US mortgage market at state level

Author

Listed:
  • Fernando López Vicente

    () (Banco de España)

Abstract

Do laws to protect borrowers curb foreclosures? This question is addressed by analysing the impact of foreclosure laws on default rates at state level in the US mortgage market. Using panel data techniques, we find a statistically significant effect of regulation on the different stages of the foreclosure process. More precisely, we analyse the effect of regulation on 60- day delinquencies and foreclosure starts, with a focus on three protective elements commonly found in state foreclosure laws, namely requiring a judicial process, granting a redemption period and banning a deficiency judgment. We find that, whereas protective states exhibit, on average, lower 60-day delinquency rates, more protection does not ultimately bring about lower foreclosure rates. Lenders seem to ration credit to mitigate costly protective laws, thereby reducing delinquency rates; but this effect is overshadowed by a moral hazard problem since, once borrowers are delinquent, they have incentives to take advantage of the protection due to the lower costs of foreclosure. We also find that the recent housing market crisis has exacerbated that behaviour. Finally, we show that lengthening the foreclosure process is no cure for the foreclosure crisis

Suggested Citation

  • Fernando López Vicente, 2013. "The effect of foreclosure regulation: Evidence for the US mortgage market at state level," Working Papers 1306, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
  • Handle: RePEc:bde:wpaper:1306
    as

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    File URL: http://www.bde.es/f/webbde/SES/Secciones/Publicaciones/PublicacionesSeriadas/DocumentosTrabajo/13/Fich/dt1306e.pdf
    File Function: First version, May 2013
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alston, Lee J, 1984. "Farm Foreclosure Moratorium Legislation: A Lesson from the Past," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 445-457, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jochen R. Andritzky, 2014. "Resolving Residential Mortgage Distress; Time to Modify?," IMF Working Papers 14/226, International Monetary Fund.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    foreclosure laws; borrower protection; credit rationing; moral hazard;

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • K11 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Property Law
    • R20 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - General
    • R30 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - General

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