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Subprime outcomes: risky mortgages, homeownership experiences, and foreclosures

  • Kristopher 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. Kau James B. & Keenan Donald C. & Kim Taewon, 1994. "Default Probabilities for Mortgages," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 278-296, May.
  2. Yongheng Deng & John M. Quigley, 2003. "Woodhead Behavior and the Pricing of Residential Mortgages," Working Paper 8616, USC Lusk Center for Real Estate.
  3. McCall, Brian P, 1996. "Unemployment Insurance Rules, Joblessness, and Part-Time Work," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(3), pages 647-82, May.
  4. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller, 1987. "Prices of Single Family Homes Since 1970: New Indexes for Four Cities," NBER Working Papers 2393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Alicia H. Munnell, 1992. "Mortgage lending in Boston: interpreting HMDA data," Working Papers 92-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  6. Anthony Pennington-Cross & Giang Ho, 2006. "The termination of subprime hybrid and fixed rate mortgages," Working Papers 2006-042, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  7. von Furstenberg, George M, 1969. "Default Risk on FHA-Insured Home Mortgages as a Function of the Terms of Financing: A Quantitative Analysis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 24(3), pages 459-77, June.
  8. Kau, James B, et al, 1995. "The Valuation at Origination of Fixed-Rate Mortgages with Default and Prepayment," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 5-36, July.
  9. John P. Herzog & James S. Earley, 1970. "Home Mortgage Delinquency and Foreclosure," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number herz70-1, December.
  10. Marsha J. Courchane & Brian J. Surette & Peter M. Zorn, 2004. "Subprime Borrowers: Mortgage Transitions and Outcomes," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 29(4), pages 365-392, December.
  11. 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.
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