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Choice of mortgage contracts: evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances

  • Brahima Coulibaly
  • Geng Li
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This study revisits the empirical question of the determinants of the choice between fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages using more comprehensive data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) that overcome some of the data limitations in previous studies. The results from a Logit model of mortgage choice indicate that pricing variables and affordability are important considerations. We also find that factors such as mobility expectations, income volatility, and attitudes toward financial risk largely influence mortgage choice, with more risk-averse borrowers preferring fixed-rate mortgages. For households that are less risk averse, the mortgage type choice decision is less sensitive to pricing variables and income volatility, and affordability factors are not significant. These findings provide empirical support that underscore the importance of attitudes toward risks in mortgage choice.

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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 2007-50.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2007-50
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  1. Barsky, Robert B, et al, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-79, May.
  2. Nothaft, Frank E & Wang, George H K, 1992. "Determinants of the ARM Share of National and Regional Lending," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 219-34, June.
  3. Dhillon, Upinder S & Shilling, James D & Sirmans, C F, 1987. "Choosing between Fixed and Adjustable Rate Mortgages: A Note," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 19(2), pages 260-67, May.
  4. John Y. Campbell & Joao F. Cocco, 2003. "Household Risk Management And Optimal Mortgage Choice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1449-1494, November.
  5. Donald J. Smith, 1987. "The Borrower's Choice between Fixed and Adjustable Rate Loan Contracts," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 15(2), pages 110-116.
  6. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Stanton, Richard & Wallace, Nancy, 1999. "Anatomy of an ARM: The Interest-Rate Risk of Adjustable-Rate Mortgages," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 49-67, July.
  8. Baesel, Jerome B. & Biger, Nahum, 1980. "The Allocation of Risk: Some Implications of Fixed versus Index-Linked Mortgages," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(02), pages 457-468, June.
  9. Sa-Aadu, J & Sirmans, C F, 1995. "Differentiated Contracts, Heterogeneous Borrowers, and the Mortgage Choice Decision," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(2), pages 498-510, May.
  10. Brian Bucks & Karen Pence, 2006. "Do homeowners know their house values and mortgage terms?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-03, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Statman, Meir, 1982. "Fixed Rate or Index-Linked Mortgages from the Borrower's Point of View: A Note," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(03), pages 451-457, September.
  12. Brueckner, Jan K & Follain, James R, 1988. "The Rise and Fall of the ARM: An Econometric Analysis of Mortgage Choice," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(1), pages 93-102, February.
  13. Alm, James & Follain, James R., 1984. "Alternative Mortgage Instruments, the Tilt Problem, and Consumer Welfare," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(01), pages 113-126, March.
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