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Payment size, negative equity, and mortgage default

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  • Fuster, Andreas

    (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

  • Willen, Paul S.

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, NBER)

Abstract

Surprisingly little is known about the importance of mortgage payment size for default, as efforts to measure the treatment effect of rate increases or loan modifications are confounded by borrower selection. We study a sample of hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages that have experienced substantial rate reductions over the past years and are largely immune to these selection concerns. We find that payment size has an economically large effect on repayment behavior; for instance, cutting the required payment in half reduces the delinquency hazard by about 55 percent. Importantly, the link between payment size and delinquency holds even for borrowers who are significantly underwater on their mortgages. These findings shed light on the driving forces behind default behavior and have important implications for public policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Fuster, Andreas & Willen, Paul S., 2012. "Payment size, negative equity, and mortgage default," Staff Reports 582, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, revised 01 Jan 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:582
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Keys, Benjamin J. & Pope, Devin G. & Pope, Jaren C., 2016. "Failure to refinance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(3), pages 482-499.
    2. W. Scott Frame & Andreas Fuster & Joseph Tracy & James Vickery, 2015. "The Rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 25-52, Spring.
    3. Adam M. Guren & Timothy J. McQuade, "undated". "How Do Foreclosures Exacerbate Housing Downturns?," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2018-007, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    4. Matthew Read & Chris Stewart & Gianni La Cava, 2014. "Mortgage-related Financial Difficulties: Evidence from Australian Micro-level Data," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2014-13, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    5. Joanne W. Hsu & David A. Matsa & Brian T. Melzer, 2014. "Positive Externalities of Social Insurance: Unemployment Insurance and Consumer Credit," NBER Working Papers 20353, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Adam M. Guren & Arvind Krishnamurthy & Timothy J. McQuade, 2018. "Mortgage Design in an Equilibrium Model of the Housing Market," NBER Working Papers 24446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Johnson, Kathleen W. & Sarama, Robert F., 2015. "End of the Line: Behavior of HELOC Borrowers Facing Payment Changes," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-73, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Thomas Schelkle, 2012. "Mortgage Default during the U.S. Mortgage Crisis," 2012 Meeting Papers 751, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Benjamin J. Keys & Tomasz Piskorski & Amit Seru & Vincent Yao, 2014. "Mortgage Rates, Household Balance Sheets, and the Real Economy," NBER Working Papers 20561, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Karamon, Kadiri & McManus, Douglas & Yannopoulos, Elias, 2016. "Spillover effects of continuous forbearance mortgages," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 95-108.
    11. Rodney Ramcharan & Amir Kermani & Marco Di Maggio, 2015. "Monetary Policy Pass-Through: Household Consumption and Voluntary Deleveraging," 2015 Meeting Papers 256, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    12. Abel, Joshua & Fuster, Andreas, 2018. "How do mortgage refinances affect debt, default, and spending? Evidence from HARP," Staff Reports 841, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    13. Andrew F. Haughwout & Sarah Sutherland & Joseph Tracy, 2013. "Negative equity and housing investment," Staff Reports 636, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    14. Amromin, Eugene & Kearns, Caitlin, 2014. "Access to Refinancing and Mortgage Interest Rates: HARPing on the Importance of Competition," Working Paper Series WP-2014-25, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    15. Danne, Christian & McGuinness, Anne, 2016. "Mortgage modifications and loan performance," Research Technical Papers 05/RT/16, Central Bank of Ireland.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    mortgage finance; delinquency; adjustable-rate mortgages; Alt-A;

    JEL classification:

    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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