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Subprime mortgage pricing: the impact of race, ethnicity, and gender on the cost of borrowing

Author

Listed:
  • Andrew F. Haughwout
  • Christopher J. Mayer
  • Joseph Tracy

Abstract

Some observers have argued that minority borrowers and neighborhoods were targeted for expensive credit in 2004-06, the peak period for subprime lending. To investigate this claim, we take advantage of a new data set that merges demographic information on subprime borrowers with information on the mortgages they took out. In a sample of more than 75,000 adjustable-rate mortgages, we find no evidence of adverse pricing by race, ethnicity, or gender in either the initial rate or the reset margin. Indeed, if any pricing differential exists, minority borrowers appear to pay slightly lower rates, as do those borrowers in Zip codes with a larger percentage of black or Hispanic residents or a higher unemployment rate. Mortgage rates are also lower in locations that previously had higher rates of house price appreciation. These results suggest some economies of scale in subprime lending. Yet there are important caveats: we are unable to measure points and fees at loan origination, and the data do not indicate whether borrowers might have qualified for less expensive conforming mortgages.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew F. Haughwout & Christopher J. Mayer & Joseph Tracy, 2009. "Subprime mortgage pricing: the impact of race, ethnicity, and gender on the cost of borrowing," Staff Reports 368, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:368
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gabriel, Stuart A. & Rosenthal, Stuart S., 2005. "Homeownership in the 1980s and 1990s: aggregate trends and racial gaps," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 101-127, January.
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    3. Haughwout, Andrew & Peach, Richard & Tracy, Joseph, 2008. "Juvenile delinquent mortgages: Bad credit or bad economy?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 246-257, September.
    4. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst, 2002. "The Transition To Home Ownership And The Black-White Wealth Gap," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 281-297, May.
    5. Bucks, Brian & Pence, Karen, 2008. "Do borrowers know their mortgage terms?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 218-233, September.
    6. Munnell, Alicia H. & Geoffrey M. B. Tootell & Lynn E. Browne & James McEneaney, 1996. "Mortgage Lending in Boston: Interpreting HMDA Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 25-53, March.
    7. repec:fip:fedgws:y:2007:i:sep:n:v.93 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst & Melvin Stephens, 2008. "Rates for Vehicle Loans: Race and Loan Source," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 315-320, May.
    9. repec:fip:fedgws:v.93 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Robert B. Avery & Kenneth P. Brevoort & Glenn B. Canner, 2006. "Higher-priced home lending and the 2005 HMDA data," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Sep, pages 123-166.
    11. Christopher J. Mayer & Karen Pence, 2008. "Subprime Mortgages: What, Where, and to Whom?," NBER Working Papers 14083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Alexei Tchistyi & Tomasz Piskorski, 2008. "Stochastic House Appreciation and Optimal Mortgage Lending," 2008 Meeting Papers 938, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bhardwaj, Geetesh & Sengupta, Rajdeep, 2012. "Subprime mortgage design," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 1503-1519.
    2. 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.
    3. Chan, Sewin & Gedal, Michael & Been, Vicki & Haughwout, Andrew, 2013. "The role of neighborhood characteristics in mortgage default risk: Evidence from New York City," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 100-118.
    4. Ghent, Andra C. & Hernández-Murillo, Rubén & Owyang, Michael T., 2014. "Differences in subprime loan pricing across races and neighborhoods," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 199-215.
    5. Chan, Sewin & Haughwout, Andrew & Tracy, Joseph, 2015. "How Mortgage Finance Affects the Urban Landscape," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    6. Mundra, Kusum, 2013. "Minority and Immigrant Homeownership Experience: Evidence from the 2009 American Housing Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 7131, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Ellen, Ingrid Gould & Lacoe, Johanna & Sharygin, Claudia Ayanna, 2013. "Do foreclosures cause crime?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 59-70.
    8. Ruben Hernandez & Michael Owyang & Andra Ghent, 2011. "Race and Subprime Loan Pricing," ERSA conference papers ersa11p923, European Regional Science Association.
    9. Ronel Elul, 2016. "Securitization and Mortgage Default," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 49(2), pages 281-309, June.

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    Keywords

    Subprime mortgage ; Discrimination in mortgage loans;

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