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The rise in mortgage defaults

  • Christopher J. Mayer
  • Karen M. Pence
  • Shane M. Sherlund

The main factors underlying the rise in mortgage defaults appear to be declines in house prices and deteriorated underwriting standards, in particular an increase in loan-to-value ratios and in the share of mortgages with little or no documentation of income. Contrary to popular perception, the growth in unconventional mortgages products, such as those with prepayment penalties, interest-only periods, and teaser interest rates, does not appear to be a significant factor in defaults through mid-2008 because borrowers who had problems with these products could refinance into different mortgages. However, as markets realized the extent of the poor underwriting, underwriting standards tightened and borrowers began to face difficulties refinancing; this dynamic suggests that these unconventional products could pose problems going forward.

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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 2008-59.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2008-59
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  1. Kristopher Gerardi & Adam Hale Shapiro & Paul S. Willen, 2007. "Subprime outcomes: risky mortgages, homeownership experiences, and foreclosures," Working Papers 07-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  2. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2008. "The Consequences of Mortgage Credit Expansion: Evidence from the 2007 Mortgage Default Crisis," NBER Working Papers 13936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jonathan A. Parker & Markus K. Brunnermeier, 2004. "Optimal Expectations," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 426, Econometric Society.
  4. Christopher L. Foote & Kristopher Gerardi & Paul S. Willen, 2008. "Negative equity and foreclosure: theory and evidence," Public Policy Discussion Paper 08-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  5. repec:fip:fedgws:v.93 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Haughwout, Andrew & Peach, Richard & Tracy, Joseph, 2008. "Juvenile delinquent mortgages: Bad credit or bad economy?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 246-257, September.
  7. Benjamin J. Keys & Tanmoy Mukherjee & Amit Seru & Vikrant Vig, 2010. "Did Securitization Lead to Lax Screening? Evidence from Subprime Loans," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 307-362, February.
  8. Tomasz Piskorski & Alexei Tchistyi, 2010. "Optimal Mortgage Design," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(8), pages 3098-3140, August.
  9. John Y. Campbell, 2006. "Household Finance," NBER Working Papers 12149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  11. Bucks, Brian & Pence, Karen, 2008. "Do borrowers know their mortgage terms?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 218-233, September.
  12. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2005. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," NBER Working Papers 11755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Tomasz Piskorski & Alexei Tchistyi & Chris Mayer, 2008. "The Inefficiency of Refinancing: Why Prepayment Penalties Are Good for Risky Borrowers," 2008 Meeting Papers 998, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. repec:fip:fedgws:y:2007:i:sep:n:v.93 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Christopher J. Mayer & Tomasz Piskorski & Alexei Tchistyi, 2010. "The Inefficiency of Refinancing: Why Prepayment Penalties Are Good for Risky Borrowers," NBER Working Papers 16586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Alexei Tchistyi & Tomasz Piskorski, 2007. "Optimal Mortgage Design," 2007 Meeting Papers 537, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  17. Robert B. Avery & Kenneth P. Brevoort & Glenn B. Canner, 2007. "The 2006 HMDA data," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Sep, pages A73-A109.
  18. Larry Cordell & Karen Dynan & Andreas Lehnert & Nellie Liang & Eileen Mauskopf, 2008. "The incentives of mortgage servicers: myths and realities," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2008-46, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  19. Christopher J. Mayer & Karen Pence, 2008. "Subprime Mortgages: What, Where, and to Whom?," NBER Working Papers 14083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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