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Payment size, negative equity, and mortgage default

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  • Andreas Fuster
  • Paul S. Willen

Abstract

Surprisingly little is known about the importance of mortgage payment size for default, as efforts to measure the treatment effect of rate increases or loan modifications are confounded by borrower selection. We study a sample of hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages that have experienced large rate reductions over the past years and are largely immune to these selection concerns. We show that interest rate changes dramatically affect repayment behavior. Our estimates imply that cutting a borrower’s payment in half reduces his hazard of becoming delinquent by about two-thirds, an effect that is approximately equivalent to lowering the borrower’s combined loan-to-value ratio from 145 to 95 (holding the payment fixed). These findings shed light on the driving forces behind default behavior and have important implications for public policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Fuster & Paul S. Willen, 2012. "Payment size, negative equity, and mortgage default," Public Policy Discussion Paper 12-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbpp:12-10
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Therese C. Scharlemann & Stephen H. Shore, 2015. "The Effect of Negative Equity on Mortgage Default: Evidence from HAMP PRA," Working Papers 15-06, Office of Financial Research, US Department of the Treasury.
    2. Keys, Benjamin J. & Pope, Devin G. & Pope, Jaren C., 2016. "Failure to refinance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(3), pages 482-499.
    3. Tim Landvoigt & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Daniel Greenwald, 2017. "Financial Fragility with SAM?," 2017 Meeting Papers 1525, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Timothy McQuade & Arvind Krishnamurthy & Adam Guren, 2016. "Mortgage Design in an Equilibrium Model of the Housing Market," 2016 Meeting Papers 371, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Johnson, Kathleen W. & Sarama, Robert F., 2015. "End of the Line: Behavior of HELOC Borrowers Facing Payment Changes," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-73, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US).
    6. W. Scott Frame & Andreas Fuster & Joseph Tracy & James Vickery, 2015. "The Rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 25-52, Spring.
    7. Thomas Schelkle, 2018. "Mortgage Default during the U.S. Mortgage Crisis," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 50(6), pages 1101-1137, September.
    8. Benjamin J. Keys & Tomasz Piskorski & Amit Seru & Vincent Yao, 2014. "Mortgage Rates, Household Balance Sheets, and the Real Economy," NBER Working Papers 20561, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Adam M. Guren & Timothy J. McQuade, "undated". "How Do Foreclosures Exacerbate Housing Downturns?," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2018-007, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    10. Eichenbaum, Martin & Rebelo, Sérgio & Wong, Arlene, 2018. "State Dependent Effects of Monetary Policy: the Refinancing Channel," CEPR Discussion Papers 13223, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Karamon, Kadiri & McManus, Douglas & Yannopoulos, Elias, 2016. "Spillover effects of continuous forbearance mortgages," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 95-108.
    12. repec:fip:fednep:00059 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Lee, Donghoon & Tracy, Joseph, 2018. "Long-term outcomes of FHA first-time homebuyers," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue 24-3, pages 145-165.
    14. Emil Verner, 2018. "Household Debt Revaluation and the Real Economy: Evidence from a Foreign Currency Debt Crisis," 2018 Meeting Papers 591, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    15. Rodney Ramcharan & Amir Kermani & Marco Di Maggio, 2015. "Monetary Policy Pass-Through: Household Consumption and Voluntary Deleveraging," 2015 Meeting Papers 256, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    16. Matthew Read & Chris Stewart & Gianni La Cava, 2014. "Mortgage-related Financial Difficulties: Evidence from Australian Micro-level Data," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2014-13, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    17. Abel, Joshua & Fuster, Andreas, 2018. "How do mortgage refinances affect debt, default, and spending? Evidence from HARP," Staff Reports 841, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    18. Haughwout, Andrew F. & Sutherland, Sarah & Tracy, Joseph, 2013. "Negative equity and housing investment," Staff Reports 636, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    19. Amromin, Eugene & Kearns, Caitlin, 2014. "Access to Refinancing and Mortgage Interest Rates: HARPing on the Importance of Competition," Working Paper Series WP-2014-25, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    20. repec:bin:bpeajo:v:49:y:2019:i:2018-01:p:429-513 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Danne, Christian & McGuinness, Anne, 2016. "Mortgage modifications and loan performance," Research Technical Papers 05/RT/16, Central Bank of Ireland.
    22. Joanne W. Hsu & David A. Matsa & Brian T. Melzer, 2014. "Positive Externalities of Social Insurance: Unemployment Insurance and Consumer Credit," NBER Working Papers 20353, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mortgage loans ; Adjustable rate mortgages ; Default (Finance);

    JEL classification:

    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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