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What \"triggers\" mortgage default?

Author

Listed:
  • Souphala Chomsisengphet
  • Ronel Elul
  • Robert M. Hunt
  • Nicholas S. Souleles

Abstract

This paper assesses the relative importance of two key drivers of mortgage default: negative equity and illiquidity. To do so, the authors combine loan-level mortgage data with detailed credit bureau information about the borrower's broader balance sheet. This gives them a direct way to measure illiquid borrowers: those with high credit card utilization rates. The authors find that both negative equity and illiquidity are significantly associated with mortgage default, with comparably sized marginal effects. Moreover, these two factors interact with each other: The effect of illiquidity on default generally increases with high combined loan-to-value ratios (CLTV), though it is significant even for low CLTV. County-level unemployment shocks are also associated with higher default risk (though less so than high utilization) and strongly interact with CLTV. In addition, having a second mortgage implies significantly higher default risk, particularly for borrowers who have a first-mortgage LTV approaching 100 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Souphala Chomsisengphet & Ronel Elul & Robert M. Hunt & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2010. "What \"triggers\" mortgage default?," Working Papers 10-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:10-13
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David B. Gross, 2002. "An Empirical Analysis of Personal Bankruptcy and Delinquency," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(1), pages 319-347, March.
    2. Kristopher S. Gerardi & Adam Hale Shapiro & Paul S. Willen, 2007. "Subprime outcomes: risky mortgages, homeownership experiences, and foreclosures," Working Papers 07-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    3. Sumit Agarwal & Chunlin Liu & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2007. "The Reaction of Consumer Spending and Debt to Tax Rebates-Evidence from Consumer Credit Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 986-1019, December.
    4. Ethan Cohen-Cole & Jonathan Morse, 2009. "Your house or your credit card, which would you choose?: personal delinquency tradeoffs and precautionary liquidity motives," Supervisory Research and Analysis Working Papers QAU09-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
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    6. Neil Bhutta & Jane K. Dokko & Hui Shan, 2010. "The depth of negative equity and mortgage default decisions," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-35, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mortgages; Default (Finance);

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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