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An empirical model of household arrears

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  • John Whitley
  • Richard Windram
  • Prudence Cox

Abstract

Household arrears on payment obligations are one of the most direct measures of household sector financial stress. In this paper a time series approach is used to model two of the key components of aggregate UK household arrears: those on mortgages and credit cards. Mortgages are the main component of secured borrowing by households and credit cards are a key element in unsecured borrowing. Recent data show that both secured and unsecured debt have risen substantially, both absolutely and as a proportion of income since 1997. Unsecured debt has increased more rapidly over this period and so has become more important in overall household debt. During this period of rapid debt accumulation, the proportion of mortgage loans in arrears has fallen but the value of credit card arrears relative to the value of active card balances has risen. These differences in the behaviour of arrears are explained by reference to the underlying driving forces identified in previous empirical work. In particular the level of housing equity appears to be more important in explaining mortgage arrears, and the role of supply factors is highlighted for credit card arrears. Although the estimated models confirm that both income and interest repayments (and therefore income gearing) are important factors in explaining both forms of arrears, unemployment only plays an additional role for mortgage arrears. Joint testing of the two models suggests a role for the ratio of the value of the mortgage loan to the value of housing equity for both kinds of arrears, but with opposing effects. In the case of mortgage arrears this might reflect the lenders' perceptions of the quality of the borrower. Credit card arrears appear to contain some information about future mortgage arrears although the reverse does not hold. Both equations adjust relatively quickly to any shocks, typically in around two years. The significance of the income-gearing term for both types of arrears underlines the importance of the path of interest rates for the financial position of the UK household sector.

Suggested Citation

  • John Whitley & Richard Windram & Prudence Cox, 2004. "An empirical model of household arrears," Bank of England working papers 214, Bank of England.
  • Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:214
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    File URL: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/research/Documents/workingpapers/2004/WP214.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Crook, Jonathan & Banasik, John, 2012. "Forecasting and explaining aggregate consumer credit delinquency behaviour," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 145-160.
    2. Aron, Janine & Muellbauer, John, 2010. "Modelling and Forecasting UK Mortgage Arrears and Possessions," CEPR Discussion Papers 7986, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Aron, Janine & Muellbauer, John, 2016. "“Modelling and forecasting mortgage delinquency and foreclosure in the UK.”," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 32-53.
    4. Petr Kadeřábek & Aleš Slabý & Josef Vodička, 2008. "Stress testing of probability of default of individuals," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2008(4), pages 340-355.
    5. Rodriguez, Adolfo & Trucharte, Carlos, 2007. "Loss coverage and stress testing mortgage portfolios: A non-parametric approach," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 342-367, December.
    6. Giarda, Elena, 2013. "Persistency of financial distress amongst Italian households: Evidence from dynamic models for binary panel data," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 3425-3434.
    7. Ana del Rio & Garry Young, 2008. "The impact of unsecured debt on financial pressure among British households," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(15), pages 1209-1220.
    8. Kelly, John & Reilly, Aisling, 2005. "Credit Card Debt in Ireland," Quarterly Bulletin Articles, Central Bank of Ireland, pages 85-100, February.
    9. Niall McInerney, 2016. "A Structural Model of Macroprudential Policy: the Case of Ireland," EcoMod2016 9643, EcoMod.
    10. Helga De Doncker, 2006. "Crédits aux particuliers - Analyse des données de la Centrale des Crédits aux Particuliers," Working Paper Document 78, National Bank of Belgium.
    11. Jochen R. Andritzky, 2014. "Resolving Residential Mortgage Distress; Time to Modify?," IMF Working Papers 14/226, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Irina Stanga & Razvan Vlahu & Jakob de Haan, 2017. "Mortgage arrears, regulation and institutions: Cross-country evidence," DNB Working Papers 580, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    13. Reamonn Lyndon & Yvonne McCarthy, 2013. "What Lies Beneath? Understanding Recent Trends in Irish Mortgage Arrears," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 44(1), pages 117-150.
    14. Duffy, David & Mc Inerney, Niall & McQuinn, Kieran, 2015. "Macroprudential Policy in a Recovering Market: Too Much too Soon?," Papers WP500, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

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