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The past, present, and future of subprime mortgages

  • Shane M. Sherlund

This paper models the historical default and prepayment behavior for subprime mortgages using data on securitized mortgages originated from 2000 to 2007. I find that more recently originated subprime loans are more likely to default, well ahead of their first mortgage rate resets, and less likely to prepay (i.e., refinance). This rise in mortgage defaults stems largely from unprecedented declines in house prices, along with slack underwriting and tight credit market conditions. I estimate a competing hazards model to quantify the effects of (1) house price appreciation, (2) underwriting standards, (3) mortgage rate resets, and (4) household cash flow shocks, such as job loss and oil price increases, on the likelihood of borrowers with subprime mortgages to default or prepay. Ultimately, I find that borrower leverage is one of the most important factors explaining both default and prepayment for borrowers with subprime mortgages. Then, using several different assumptions about the future path of house prices, I simulate potential trajectories for subprime mortgage defaults between 2008 and 2010. Further, I explore the short-term sensitivities of default and prepayment to house prices and various mortgage characteristics.

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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 2008-63.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2008-63
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  1. Christopher J. Mayer & Karen M. Pence & Shane M. Sherlund, 2008. "The rise in mortgage defaults," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2008-59, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Bucks, Brian & Pence, Karen, 2008. "Do borrowers know their mortgage terms?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 218-233, September.
  3. 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.
  4. Chris Mayer & Karen Pence, 2008. "Subprime mortgages: what, where, and to whom?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2008-29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Paul S. Willen & Adam Hale Shapiro & Kristopher Gerardi, 2008. "Subprime Outcomes: Risky Mortgages, Homeownership Experiences, and Foreclosures," 2008 Meeting Papers 345, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. 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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