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The Government-Sponsored Enterprises and the mortgage crisis: the role of the affordable housing goals

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  • Valentin Bolotnyy

Abstract

The U.S. mortgage crisis that began in 2007 generated questions about the role played by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), in its causes. Some have claimed that the Affordable Housing Goals (AHGs), introduced by Congress through the GSE Act of 1992, and the resulting purchases of single-family mortgages the GSEs made to meet those goals, drove lending to high-risk borrowers. Using regression discontinuity analysis, I measure the effect of one of the goals, the Underserved Areas Goal (UAG), on the number of whole single-family mortgages purchased by the GSEs in targeted census tracts from 1996 to 2002. Focusing additionally on tracts that became UAG-eligible in 2005-2006, when the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) began to determine eligibility using the 2000 Census, I measure the effect of the UAG on the GSEs' whole single-family mortgage purchases during peak years for the subprime mortgage market. Under the first approach, I estimate that the GSEs purchased 0 to 3 percent more goal-eligible mortgages than they would have without the UAG in place. Under the second approach, I estimate this effect to be 2.5 to 5 percent. The results suggest a small UAG effect and challenge the view that the goals caused the GSEs to supply substantially more credit to high-risk borrowers than they otherwise would have supplied. Although the goals may have spurred the GSEs to purchase more multi-family mortgages and REMICs than they otherwise would have, my analyses suggest that the GSEs' purchases of whole single-family mortgages to satisfy the goals did not drive the subprime lending boom of 2002-2006.

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  • Valentin Bolotnyy, 2012. "The Government-Sponsored Enterprises and the mortgage crisis: the role of the affordable housing goals," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-25, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2012-25
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peter J. Wallison, 2011. "Dissent from the Majority Report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 50848, July.
    2. Bostic, Raphael W. & Gabriel, Stuart A., 2006. "Do the GSEs matter to low-income housing markets? An assessment of the effects of the GSE loan purchase goals on California housing outcomes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 458-475, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andra C. Ghent & Rubén Hernández-Murillo & Michael T. Owyang, 2015. "Did Affordable Housing Legislation Contribute to the Subprime Securities Boom?," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 43(4), pages 820-854, November.
    2. W. Scott Frame, 2015. "Introduction to Special Issue: Government Involvement in Residential Mortgage Markets," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 43(4), pages 807-819, November.
    3. Bhutta, Neil, 2014. "The ins and outs of mortgage debt during the housing boom and bust," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2014-91, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Moscone, Francesco & Tosetti, Elisa & Canepa, Alessandra, 2014. "Real estate market and financial stability in US metropolitan areas: A dynamic model with spatial effects," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 129-146.
    5. Olsen, Edgar O. & Zabel, Jeffrey E., 2015. "US Housing Policy," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.

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