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Subprime outcomes: risky mortgages, homeownership experiences, and foreclosures

  • Kristopher S. Gerardi
  • Adam Hale Shapiro
  • Paul S. Willen

This paper provides the first rigorous assessment of the homeownership experiences of subprime borrowers. We consider homeowners who used subprime mortgages to buy their homes, and estimate how often these borrowers end up in foreclosure. In order to evaluate these issues, we analyze homeownership experiences in Massachusetts over the 1989–2007 period using a competing risks, proportional hazard framework. We present two main findings. First, homeownerships that begin with a subprime purchase mortgage end up in foreclosure almost 20 percent of the time, or more than 6 times as often as experiences that begin with prime purchase mortgages. Second, house price appreciation plays a dominant role in generating foreclosures. In fact, we attribute most of the dramatic rise in Massachusetts foreclosures during 2006 and 2007 to the decline in house prices that began in the summer of 2005.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Working Papers with number 07-15.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:07-15
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  1. He, Hua & Pearson, Neil D., 1991. "Consumption and portfolio policies with incomplete markets and short-sale constraints: The infinite dimensional case," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 259-304, August.
  2. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-54, May-June.
  3. John P. Herzog & James S. Earley, 1970. "Home Mortgage Delinquency and Foreclosure," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number herz70-1, May.
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