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Did prepayments sustain the subprime market?

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  • Geetesh Bhardwaj
  • Rajdeep Sengupta

Abstract

This paper demonstrates that the reason for widespread default of mortgages in the subprime market was a sudden reversal in the house price appreciation of the early 2000's. Using loan-level data on subprime mortgages, we observe that the majority of subprime loans were hybrid adjustable rate mortgages, designed to impose substantial financial burden on reset to the fully indexed rate. In a regime of rising house prices, a financially distressed borrower could avoid default by prepaying the loan and our results indicate that subprime mortgages originated between 1998 and 2005 had extremely high prepayment rates. However, a sudden reversal in house price appreciation increased default in this market because it made this prepayment exit option cost-prohibitive.

Suggested Citation

  • Geetesh Bhardwaj & Rajdeep Sengupta, 2008. "Did prepayments sustain the subprime market?," Working Papers 2008-039, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2008-039
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    File URL: http://research.stlouisfed.org/wp/2008/2008-039.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gary Gorton, 2008. "The Panic of 2007," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2372, Yale School of Management.
    2. Caplin, Andrew & Freeman, Charles & Tracy, Joseph, 1997. "Collateral Damage: Refinancing Constraints and Regional Recessions," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(4), pages 496-516, November.
    3. Hurst, Erik & Stafford, Frank, 2004. "Home Is Where the Equity Is: Mortgage Refinancing and Household Consumption," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(6), pages 985-1014, December.
    4. Christopher J. Mayer & Karen Pence, 2008. "Subprime Mortgages: What, Where, and to Whom?," NBER Working Papers 14083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Kau, James B & Keenan, Donald C & Muller, Walter J, III & Epperson, James F, 1993. "Option Theory and Floating-Rate Securities with a Comparison of Adjustable- and Fixed-Rate Mortgages," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66(4), pages 595-618, October.
    6. Ambrose, Brent W & Sanders, Anthony B, 2003. "Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities: Prepayment and Default," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 26(2-3), pages 179-196, March-May.
    7. Craig P. Aubuchon & David C. Wheelock, 2008. "How much have U.S. house prices fallen?," National Economic Trends, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Aug.
    8. Souphala Chomsisengphet & Anthony Pennington-Cross, 2006. "The evolution of the subprime mortgage market," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 31-56.
    9. Bennett, Paul & Peach, Richard & Peristiani, Stavros, 2001. "Structural Change in the Mortgage Market and the Propensity to Refinance," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(4), pages 955-975, November.
    10. Geetesh Bhardwaj & Rajdeep Sengupta, 2008. "Where's the smoking gun? a study of underwriting standards for US subprime mortgages," Working Papers 2008-036, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    11. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller, 2003. "Is There a Bubble in the Housing Market?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(2), pages 299-362.
    12. Stanton, Richard, 1995. "Rational Prepayment and the Valuation Mortgage-Backed Securities," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 8(3), pages 677-708.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rajdeep Sengupta, 2010. "Alt-A: the forgotten segment of the mortgage market," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 55-72.
    2. Rajdeep Sengupta & Yu Man Tam, 2010. "Why HARM the subprime borrower?," The Regional Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Apr, pages 21-22.
    3. Geetesh Bhardwaj & Rajdeep Sengupta, 2008. "Where's the smoking gun? a study of underwriting standards for US subprime mortgages," Working Papers 2008-036, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    4. James B. Bullard, 2010. "The Fed: a central bank with a regional structure," The Regional Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Apr, pages 1-3.
    5. Khandani, Amir E. & Lo, Andrew W. & Merton, Robert C., 2013. "Systemic risk and the refinancing ratchet effect," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 29-45.
    6. Jevgenijs Steinbuks & Gregory Elliehausen, 2014. "The Economic Effects of Legal Restrictions on High-Cost Mortgages," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 49(1), pages 47-72, July.
    7. James B. Bullard & Christopher J. Neely & David C. Wheelock, 2009. "Systemic risk and the financial crisis: a primer," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 403-418.

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    Keywords

    Subprime mortgage;

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