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GSEs, mortgage rates, and secondary market activities

  • Andreas Lehnert
  • Wayne Passmore
  • Shane M. Sherlund

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that purchase mortgages and issue mortgage-backed securities (MBS). In addition, the GSEs are active participants in the primary and secondary mortgage markets on behalf of their own portfolios of MBS. Because these portfolios have grown quite large, portfolio purchases as well as MBS issuance are likely to be important forces in the mortgage market. This paper examines the statistical evidence of a connection between GSE actions and the interest rates paid by mortgage borrowers. We find that both portfolio purchases and MBS issuance have negligible effects on mortgage rate spreads and that purchases are not any more effective than securitization at reducing mortgage interest rate spreads. We also examine the 1998 liquidity crisis and find that GSE portfolio purchases did little to affect interest rates paid by borrowers. These results are robust to alternative assumptions about causality and to model specification.

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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 2005-07.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2005-07
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  1. Johansen, Soren, 1988. "Statistical analysis of cointegration vectors," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 231-254.
  2. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2005. "Predatory Trading," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(4), pages 1825-1863, 08.
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  8. Lucio Sarno & Daniel L. Thornton, 2003. "The efficient market hypothesis and identification in structural VARs," Working Papers 2003-032, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
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  12. Andreas Lehnert & Wayne Passmore & Shane M. Sherlund, 2006. "GSEs, mortgage rates, and secondary market activities," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-30, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  13. 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.
  14. Richard Roll, 2003. "Benefits to Homeowners from Mortgage Portfolios Retained by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 29-42, February.
  15. Johansen, Soren, 1991. "Estimation and Hypothesis Testing of Cointegration Vectors in Gaussian Vector Autoregressive Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1551-80, November.
  16. Roberto Perli & Brian Sack, 2003. "Does mortgage hedging amplify movements in long-term interest rates?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-49, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  17. 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 173-95, Sept.-Dec.
  18. Alan Greenspan, 1989. "Statement by Alan Greenspan," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 2(1), pages 31-34.
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