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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 securitize mortgages and issue mortgage-backed securities (MBS). In addition, the GSEs are active participants in the secondary mortgage market on behalf of their own investment portfolios. Because these portfolios have grown quite large, portfolio purchases (in addition to MBS issuance) are often thought to be an important force in the mortgage market. Using monthly data from 1993 to 2005 we estimate a VAR model of the relationship between GSE secondary market activities and mortgage interest rate spreads. We find that GSE portfolio purchases have no significant effects on either primary or secondary mortgage rate spreads. Further, we examine GSE activities and mortgage rate spreads in the wake of the 1998 debt crisis, and find that GSE portfolio purchases did little to affect interest rates paid by new mortgage borrowers. This empirical finding is robust to alternative identification assumptions and to alternative model and variable specifications.

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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 2006-30.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2006-30
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  1. Ben S. Bernanke, 1986. "Alternative Explanations of the Money-Income Correlation," NBER Working Papers 1842, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
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  15. 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.
  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. 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.
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