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Choosing Between Fixed and Adjustable Rate Mortgages

  • Paiella, Monica
  • Pozzolo, Alberto Franco

    ()

This paper estimates the determinants of households’ choice between fixed rate (FRM) and adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) contracts, using the Bank of Italy’s Survey of Household Income and Wealth. Contrary to the predictions of the theoretical literature, the analysis shows that most household characteristics proxying for exposure to other (non-mortgagerelated) risks and for individual risk aversion are irrelevant for the choice. This, in turn, crucially depends on the relative price of the mortgages and on whether the household is liquidity constrained. Liquidity constrained households find ARMs particularly attractive because their initial payments are generally lowest, ceteris paribus. This is so despite some evidence that the premium that lenders charge over their cost of funds is substantially higher on ARMs than on FRMs. Taken together, the evidence suggests that ARM holders do not fully take into account the risk of a rise of the reference interest rates. On the other hand, lenders price quite expensively this risk and borrowers end up paying a high price for the benefit of low initial payments.

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File URL: http://web.unimol.it/progetti/repec/mol/ecsdps/ESDP07033.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Molise, Dept. EGSeI in its series Economics & Statistics Discussion Papers with number esdp07033.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 10 Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mol:ecsdps:esdp07033
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  1. James M. Poterba, 2001. "Taxation and Portfolio Structure: Issues and Implications," NBER Working Papers 8223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio, 2000. "Household Portfolios in Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 2549, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1994. "Income Risk, Borrowing Constraints and Portfolio Choice," CEPR Discussion Papers 888, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Engelhardt, Gary V., 1996. "House prices and home owner saving behavior," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3-4), pages 313-336, June.
  5. Jonathan Skinner, 1993. "Is Housing Wealth a Sideshow?," NBER Working Papers 4552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Joao Cocco & John Campbell, 2004. "Household Risk Management and Optimal Mortgage Choice," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 646, Econometric Society.
  7. Daniela FABBRI & Mario PADULA, 2003. "Does Poor Legal Enforcement Make Households Credit-Constrained?," FAME Research Paper Series rp81, International Center for Financial Asset Management and Engineering.
  8. 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.
  9. Pelizzon, Loriana & Weber, Guglielmo, 2003. "Are Household Portfolios Efficient? An Analysis Conditional on Housing," CEPR Discussion Papers 3890, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Blundell, Richard & Costa Dias, Monica, 2008. "Alternative Approaches to Evaluation in Empirical Microeconomics," IZA Discussion Papers 3800, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Luigi Pistaferri & Tullio Jappelli, 1998. "Using Subjective Income Expectations to Test for Excess Sensitivity of Consumption to Predicted Income Growth," CSEF Working Papers 12, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  12. Silvia Magri, 2002. "Italian households' debt: determinants of demand and supply," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 454, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  13. Erich Battistin & Raffale Miniaci & Guglielmo Weber, 2000. "What do we learn from recall consumption data?," IFS Working Papers W00/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  14. Jappelli, Tullio & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2004. "Incentives to Borrow and the Demand for Mortgage Debt: An Analysis of Tax Reforms," CEPR Discussion Papers 3903, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Marjorie Flavin & Takashi Yamashita, 2002. "Owner-Occupied Housing and the Composition of the Household Portfolio," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 345-362, March.
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