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Regional heterogeneity and the refinancing channel of monetary policy

Author

Listed:
  • Martin Beraja
  • Andreas Fuster
  • Erik Hurst
  • Joseph Vavra

Abstract

We argue that the time-varying regional distribution of housing equity influences the aggregate consequences of monetary policy through its effects on mortgage refinancing. Using detailed loan-level data, we show that regional differences in housing equity affect refinancing and spending responses to interest rate cuts but that these effects vary over time with changes in the regional distribution of house price growth. We then build a heterogeneous household model of refinancing with both mortgage borrowers and lenders and use it to explore the aggregate implications for monetary policy arising from our regional evidence. We find that the 2008 equity distribution made spending in depressed regions less responsive to interest rate cuts, thus dampening aggregate stimulus and increasing regional consumption inequality, whereas the opposite occurred in some earlier recessions. Taken together, our results strongly suggest that monetary policy makers should track the regional distribution of equity over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Beraja & Andreas Fuster & Erik Hurst & Joseph Vavra, 2015. "Regional heterogeneity and the refinancing channel of monetary policy," Staff Reports 731, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:731
    Note: Former title: Regional heterogeneity and monetary policy
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    monetary policy; regional inequality; mortgage refinancing; quantitative easing;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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