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Real estate investors, the leverage cycle, and the housing market crisis

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  • Andrew F. Haughwout
  • Donghoon Lee
  • Joseph Tracy
  • Wilbert Van der Klaauw

Abstract

We explore a mostly undocumented but important dimension of the housing market crisis: the role played by real estate investors. Using unique credit-report data, we document large increases in the share of purchases, and subsequently delinquencies, by real estate investors. In states that experienced the largest housing booms and busts, at the peak of the market almost half of purchase mortgage originations were associated with investors. In part by apparently misreporting their intentions to occupy the property, investors took on more leverage, contributing to higher rates of default. Our findings have important implications for policies designed to address the consequences and recurrence of housing market bubbles.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew F. Haughwout & Donghoon Lee & Joseph Tracy & Wilbert Van der Klaauw, 2011. "Real estate investors, the leverage cycle, and the housing market crisis," Staff Reports 514, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:514
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Charles Himmelberg & Christopher Mayer & Todd Sinai, 2005. "Assessing High House Prices: Bubbles, Fundamentals and Misperceptions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 67-92, Fall.
    2. Rajashri Chakrabarti & Donghoon Lee & Wilbert van der Klaauw & Basit Zafar, 2013. "Household Debt and Saving during the 2007 Recession," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring Wealth and Financial Intermediation and Their Links to the Real Economy, pages 273-322 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Glaeser, Edward L. & Gyourko, Joseph & Saiz, Albert, 2008. "Housing supply and housing bubbles," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 198-217, September.
    4. James M. Poterba, 1984. "Tax Subsidies to Owner-Occupied Housing: An Asset-Market Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(4), pages 729-752.
    5. 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.
    6. Patric H. Hendershott & Joel Slemrod, 1982. "Taxes and the User Cost of Capital for Owner-Occupied Housing," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 10(4), pages 375-393.
    7. Edward L. Glaeser & Joshua D. Gottlieb & Joseph Gyourko, 2012. "Can Cheap Credit Explain the Housing Boom?," NBER Chapters,in: Housing and the Financial Crisis, pages 301-359 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. John Geanakoplos & Ana Fostel, 2008. "Leverage Cycles and the Anxious Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1211-1244, September.
    9. John Geanakoplos, 2010. "Solving the present crisis and managing the leverage cycle," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Aug, pages 101-131.
    10. Sean D. Campbell & Morris A. Davis & Joshua H. Gallin & Robert F. Martin, 2006. "A trend and variance decomposition of the rent-price ratio in housing markets," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    11. Patrick Bayer & Christopher Geissler & Kyle Mangum & James W. Roberts, 2011. "Speculators and Middlemen: The Strategy and Performance of Investors in the Housing Market," NBER Working Papers 16784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Donghoon Lee & Wilbert Van der Klaauw, 2010. "An introduction to the FRBNY Consumer Credit Panel," Staff Reports 479, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    13. John Geanakoplos, 2009. "The Leverage Cycle," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1715, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    14. John Geanakoplos, 2010. "Solving the Present Crisis and Managing the Leverage Cycle," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1751, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Benítez-Silva, Hugo & Eren, Selçuk & Heiland, Frank & Jiménez-Martín, Sergi, 2015. "How well do individuals predict the selling prices of their homes?," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 12-25.
    2. John Geanakoplos & Robert Axtell & J. Doyne Farmer & Peter Howitt & Benjamin Conlee & Jonathan Goldstein & Matthew Hendrey & Nathan M. Palmer & Chun-Yi Yang, 2012. "Getting at Systemic Risk via an Agent-Based Model of the Housing Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 53-58, May.
    3. Fernando Ferreira & Joseph Gyourko, 2015. "A New Look at the U.S. Foreclosure Crisis: Panel Data Evidence of Prime and Subprime Borrowers from 1997 to 2012," NBER Working Papers 21261, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Andrea Ferrero, 2015. "House Price Booms, Current Account Deficits, and Low Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 47(S1), pages 261-293, March.
    5. Leung, Charles Ka Yui & Tse, Chung-Yi, 2017. "Flipping in the housing market," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 232-263.
    6. Jason Bram, 2012. "To buy or not to buy? The changing relationship between Manhattan rents and home prices," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 18(Dec).
    7. Patrick Bayer & Fernando Ferreira & Stephen L. Ross, 2016. "The Vulnerability of Minority Homeowners in the Housing Boom and Bust," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 1-27, February.
    8. Andreas Fuster & Paul S. Willen, 2017. "Payment Size, Negative Equity, and Mortgage Default," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 167-191, November.
    9. Daniel Covitz & Nellie Liang & Tobias Adrian, 2015. "Financial Stability Monitoring," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 357-395, December.
    10. Neil Bhutta, 2012. "Mortgage debt and household deleveraging: accounting for the decline in mortgage debt using consumer credit record data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-14, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    11. repec:taf:houspd:v:27:y:2017:i:3:p:393-418 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Glaeser, Edward L. & Nathanson, Charles G., 2015. "Housing Bubbles," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    13. Robert Hockett, 2013. "Paying Paul and robbing no one: an eminent domain solution for underwater mortgage debt," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 19(Jun).
    14. Philip Bond & Ronel Elul & Sharon Garyn-Tal & David K. Musto, 2012. "Does junior inherit? Refinancing and the blocking power of second mortgages," Working Papers 13-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, revised 05 Jun 2013.
    15. 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.).
    16. Elizabeth Strom & Steven Reader, 2013. "Rethinking Foreclosure Dynamics in a Sunbelt City: What Parcel-Level Mortgage Data Can Teach Us About Subprime Lending and Foreclosures," Housing Policy Debate, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(1), pages 59-79, January.

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    Keywords

    Mortgages ; Financial leverage ; Real estate investment;

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