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$1.25 Trillion is still real money : some facts about the effects of the Federal Reserve’s mortgage market investments

  • Andreas Fuster
  • Paul S. Willen

This paper measures the effects on the primary U.S. mortgage market of the large-scale asset purchase (LSAP) program in which the Federal Reserve bought $1.25 trillion of mortgage-backed securities in 2009 and 2010. We use an event-study approach and measure the movements in both prices and quantities around the initial announcement of the LSAP and subsequent changes to the program. We use a new dataset to document the changes in the menu of rates and points offered to borrowers and show that there was wide dispersion in the rate changes generated by the announcement of the LSAP program, with some borrowers seeing immediate rate reductions of up to 40 basis points and other borrowers confronting rate increases. We show that the LSAP program led to a substantial boost in market activity, with discontinuous increases in searches, applications and originations for refinance mortgages, but not purchase mortgages. Finally, we show that more creditworthy borrowers were significantly more likely to benefit from the improved credit availability.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Public Policy Discussion Paper with number 10-4.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbpp:10-4
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  1. Deng, Yongheng & Quigley, John M., 2004. "Woodhead Behavior and the Pricing of Residential Mortgages," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt85q0w8xj, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
  2. John C. Williams & John B. Taylor, 2009. "A Black Swan in the Money Market," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 58-83, January.
  3. Caplin, Andrew & Freeman, Charles & Tracy, Joseph, 1997. "Collateral Damage: Refinancing Constraints and Regional Recessions," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(4), pages 496-516, November.
  4. Campbell, Sean D. & Davis, Morris A. & Gallin, Joshua & Martin, Robert F., 2009. "What moves housing markets: A variance decomposition of the rent-price ratio," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 90-102, September.
  5. Johannes C. Stroebel & John B. Taylor, 2009. "Estimated Impact of the Fed's Mortgage-Backed Securities Purchase Program," NBER Working Papers 15626, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Joseph Gagnon & Matthew Raskin & Julie Remache & Brian Sack, 2011. "Large-scale asset purchases by the Federal Reserve: did they work?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 41-59.
  7. Fernando Ferreira & Joseph Gyourko & Joseph Tracy, 2008. "Housing busts and household mobility," Staff Reports 350, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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