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The GSE implicit subsidy and value of government ambiguity

Listed author(s):
  • Wayne Passmore

The housing-related government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the "GSEs") have an ambiguous relationship with the federal government. Most purchasers of the GSEs' debt securities believe that this debt is implicitly backed by the U.S. government despite the lack of a legal basis for such a belief. In this paper, I estimate how much GSE shareholders gain from this ambiguous government relationship. I find that (1) the federal government's implicit subsidy of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has resulted in a funding advantage for the GSEs over private sector institutions, (2) the actions of GSEs result in slightly lower mortgage rates for some homeowners, (3) the government's ambiguous relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac imparts a substantial implicit subsidy to GSE shareholders, (4) the implicit government subsidy accounts for much of the GSEs' market value, (5) the GSEs would hold far fewer of their mortgage-backed securities in portfolio and their capital-to-asset ratios would be higher if they were purely private, and (6) the GSEs' implicit subsidy does not appear to have substantially increased homeownership or homebuilding.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2003-64.

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Date of creation: 2003
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2003-64
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  1. John L. Goodman & Wayne Passmore, 1992. "Market power and the pricing of mortgage securitization," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 187, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Heuson, Andrea & Passmore, Wayne & Sparks, Roger, 2001. "Credit Scoring and Mortgage Securitization: Implications for Mortgage Rates and Credit Availability," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 337-363, November.
  3. Barakova, Irina & Bostic, Raphael W. & Calem, Paul S. & Wachter, Susan M., 2003. "Does credit quality matter for homeownership?," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 318-336, December.
  4. Sanders, Anthony B, 2002. "Government Sponsored Agencies: Do the Benefits Outweigh the Costs?," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 25(2-3), pages 121-127, Sept.-Dec.
  5. Topel, Robert H & Rosen, Sherwin, 1988. "Housing Investment in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 718-740, August.
  6. Nothaft, Frank E & Pearce, James E & Stevanovic, Stevan, 2002. "Debt Spreads between GSEs and Other Corporations," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 25(2-3), pages 151-172, Sept.-Dec.
  7. Passmore, Wayne & Sparks, Roger, 1996. "Putting the Squeeze on a Market for Lemons: Government-Sponsored Mortgage Securitization," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 27-43, July.
  8. James F. Gatti & Ronald W. Spahr, 1997. "The Value of Federal Sponsorship: The Case of Freddie Mac," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 25(3), pages 453-485.
  9. Edward Kane, 1999. "Housing Finance GSEs: Who Gets the Subsidy?," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 15(3), pages 197-209, May.
  10. Naranjo, Andy & Toevs, Alden, 2002. "The Effects of Purchases of Mortgages and Securitization By Government Sponsored Enterprises on Mortgage Yield Spreads and Volatility," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 25(2-3), pages 173-195, Sept.-Dec.
  11. Wayne Passmore & Roger W. Sparks, 2000. "Automated Underwriting and the Profitability of Mortgage Securitization," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 28(2), pages 285-305.
  12. Brent W. Ambrose & Michael LaCour-Little & Anthony B. Sanders, 2004. "The Effect of Conforming Loan Status on Mortgage Yield Spreads: A Loan Level Analysis," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 32(4), pages 541-569, December.
  13. Ambrose, Brent W & Warga, Arthur, 2002. "Measuring Potential GSE Funding Advantages," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 25(2-3), pages 129-150, Sept.-Dec.
  14. Steven A. Sharpe, 2002. "Reexamining Stock Valuation and Inflation: The Implications Of Analysts' Earnings Forecasts," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 632-648, November.
  15. Wayne Passmore & Shane M. Sherlund & Gillian Burgess, 2005. "The Effect of Housing Government-Sponsored Enterprises on Mortgage Rates," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 33(3), pages 427-463, 09.
  16. Glenn B. Canner & Wayne Passmore & Brian J. Surette, 1996. "Distribution of credit risk among providers of mortgages to lower- income and minority homebuyers," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Dec, pages 1077-1102.
  17. Quercia, Roberto G. & McCarthy, George W. & Wachter, Susan M., 2003. "The impacts of affordable lending efforts on homeownership rates," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 29-59, March.
  18. William Poole, 2003. "Housing in the macroeconomy," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 1-8.
  19. Nelson, Charles R & Siegel, Andrew F, 1987. "Parsimonious Modeling of Yield Curves," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(4), pages 473-489, October.
  20. David L. Reifschneider & Robert J. Tetlow & John Williams, 1999. "Aggregate disturbances, monetary policy, and the macroeconomy: the FRB/US perspective," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-19.
  21. Ambrose, Brent W & Buttimer, Richard & Thibodeau, Thomas, 2001. "A New Spin on the Jumbo/Conforming Loan Rate Differential," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 309-335, November.
  22. James E. Pearce & James C. Miller, 2001. "Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae: their funding advantage and benefits to consumers," Proceedings 737, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  23. Bolder, David & Streliski, David, 1999. "Yield Curve Modelling at the Bank of Canada," Technical Reports 84, Bank of Canada.
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