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Payment changes and default risk: theimpact of refinancing on expected credit losses

  • Joseph Tracy
  • Joshua Wright

This paper analyzes the relationship between changes in borrowers' monthly mortgage payments and future credit performance. This relationship is important for the design of an internal refinance program such as the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). We use a competing risk model to estimate the sensitivity of default risk to downward adjustments of borrowers' monthly mortgage payments for a large sample of prime adjustable-rate mortgages. Applying a 26 percent average monthly payment reduction that we estimate would result from refinancing under HARP, we find that the cumulative five-year default rate on prime conforming adjustable-rate mortgages with loan-to-value ratios above 80 percent declines by 3.8 percentage points. If we assume an average loss given default of 35.2 percent, this lower default risk implies reduced credit losses of 134 basis points per dollar of balance for mortgages that refinance under HARP.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 562.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:562
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  1. Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 757-82, July.
  2. Andrew Haughwout & Ebiere Okah & Joseph Tracy, 2009. "Second chances: subprime mortgage modification and re-default," Staff Reports 417, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  3. Sumit Agarwal & Gene Amromin & Itzhak Ben-David & Souphala Chomsisengphet & Douglas D. Evanoff, 2011. "Market-based loss mitigation practices for troubled mortgages following the financial crisis," Working Paper Series WP-2011-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Richard K. Green & James D. Shilling, 1997. "The Impact of Initial-Year Discounts on ARM Prepayments," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 25(3), pages 373-385.
  5. 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.
  6. Deng, Yongheng & Quigley, John M. & Van Order, Robert, 1999. "Mortgage Terminations, Heterogeneity, and the Exercise of Mortgage Options," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt96r560pg, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
  7. Dhillon, Upinder S & Shilling, James D & Sirmans, C F, 1987. "Choosing between Fixed and Adjustable Rate Mortgages: A Note," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 19(2), pages 260-67, May.
  8. Anthony Pennington-Cross & Giang Ho, 2006. "The termination of subprime hybrid and fixed rate mortgages," Working Papers 2006-042, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  9. Qi, Min & Yang, Xiaolong, 2009. "Loss given default of high loan-to-value residential mortgages," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 788-799, May.
  10. Brent W. Ambrose & Michael LaCour-Little & Zsuzsa R. Huszar, 2005. "A Note on Hybrid Mortgages," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 33(4), pages 765-782, December.
  11. Foote, Christopher L. & Gerardi, Kristopher & Willen, Paul S., 2008. "Negative equity and foreclosure: Theory and evidence," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 234-245, September.
  12. Brent W. Ambrose & Michael LaCour-Little, 2001. "Prepayment Risk in Adjustable Rate Mortgages Subject to Initial Year Discounts: Some New Evidence," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 29(2), pages 305-327.
  13. Brueckner, Jan K & Follain, James R, 1988. "The Rise and Fall of the ARM: An Econometric Analysis of Mortgage Choice," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(1), pages 93-102, February.
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