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Mortgage Rates Decline and (Prime) Households Take Advantage

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Abstract

Today, the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data reported that household debt balances increased by $206 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020, marking a $414 billion increase since the end of 2019. But the COVID pandemic and ensuing recession have marked an end to the dynamics in household borrowing that have characterized the expansion since the Great Recession, which included robust growth in auto and student loans, while mortgage and credit card balances grew more slowly. As the pandemic took hold, these dynamics were altered. One shift in 2020 was a larger bump up in mortgage balances. Mortgage balances grew by $182 billion, the biggest quarterly uptick since 2007, boosted by historically high volumes of originations. Here, we take a close look at the composition of mortgage originations, which neared $1.2 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2020, the highest single-quarter volume seen since our series begins in 2000. The Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit and this analysis are based on the New York Fed’s Consumer Credit Panel, which is itself based on anonymized Equifax credit data.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew F. Haughwout & Donghoon Lee & Joelle Scally & Wilbert Van der Klaauw, 2021. "Mortgage Rates Decline and (Prime) Households Take Advantage," Liberty Street Economics 20210217b, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednls:89911
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    mortgages; housing; CCP; household finance; Consumer Credit Panel;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance

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