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The Federal Reserve's portfolio and its effects on mortgage markets

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  • Diana Hancock
  • Wayne Passmore

Abstract

We provide an empirical analysis of the effects of the Federal Reserve's asset holdings on MBS yields and mortgage rates. We argue that understanding the particulars of the U.S. mortgage markets, particularly the linkages between the secondary and primary mortgage markets, is important. We find evidence that the Federal Reserve's portfolio holdings influence mortgage markets, through both a "portfolio balancing channel" and an "excess reserves" channel. These two channels can work in opposite directions and their magnitudes are difficult to estimate, but on net, larger Federal Reserve's portfolio holdings seem to have placed a significant downward influence on MBS yields and mortgage rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Diana Hancock & Wayne Passmore, 2012. "The Federal Reserve's portfolio and its effects on mortgage markets," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-22, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2012-22
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Angela Maddaloni & Jose-Luis Peydro, 2011. "Bank Risk-taking, Securitization, Supervision, and Low Interest Rates: Evidence from the Euro-area and the U.S. Lending Standards," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(6), pages 2121-2165.
    2. Andreas Fuster & Paul S. Willen, 2010. "$1.25 Trillion is still real money : some facts about the effects of the Federal Reserve’s mortgage market investments," Public Policy Discussion Paper 10-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    3. Jonathan H. Wright, 2011. "What does Monetary Policy do to Long-Term Interest Rates at the Zero Lower Bound?," NBER Working Papers 17154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Hancock, Diana & Passmore, Wayne, 2011. "Did the Federal Reserve's MBS purchase program lower mortgage rates?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(5), pages 498-514.
    5. Antoine Martin & James J. McAndrews & David R. Skeie, 2011. "A note on bank lending in times of large bank reserves," Staff Reports 497, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    6. Andreas Lehnert & Wayne Passmore & Shane Sherlund, 2008. "GSEs, Mortgage Rates, and Secondary Market Activities," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 343-363, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Saty Patrabansh & William M. Doerner & Samuel Asin, 2014. "The Effects of Monetary Policy on Mortgage Rates," FHFA Staff Working Papers 14-02, Federal Housing Finance Agency.

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