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Choosing Between Fixed and Adjustable Rate Mortgages

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  • Paiella, Monica
  • Pozzolo, Alberto Franco

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Paiella, Monica & Pozzolo, Alberto Franco, 2007. "Choosing Between Fixed and Adjustable Rate Mortgages," Economics & Statistics Discussion Papers esdp07033, University of Molise, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mol:ecsdps:esdp07033
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    Cited by:

    1. Tullio Jappelli & Annalisa Scognamiglio, 2016. "Monetary Policy, Mortgages and Consumption: Evidence from Italy," CSEF Working Papers 454, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    2. Guiso, Luigi & Sodini, Paolo, 2013. "Household Finance: An Emerging Field," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 1397-1532, Elsevier.
    3. Pavlo Illiashenko, 2017. "Behavioral Finance: Household Investment and Borrowing Decisions," Visnyk of the National Bank of Ukraine, National Bank of Ukraine, issue 242, pages 28-48.
    4. Dungey, Mardi & Doko Tchatoka, Firmin & Yanotti, María B., 2018. "Endogeneity in household mortgage choice," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 30-44.
    5. Vesterberg, Mattias, 2018. "The effect of price on electricity contract choice," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 59-70.
    6. Roberto Felici & Elisabetta Manzoli & Raffaella Pico, 2012. "Crisis and Italian households: a microeconomic analysis of mortgage contracts," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 125, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    7. Ugo Albertazzi & Fulvia Fringuellotti & Steven Ongena, 2018. "Fixed rate versus adjustable rate mortgages: evidence from euro area banks," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1176, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    8. Söderberg, Inga-Lill & Wester, Misse, 2012. "Lay actions in the face of crisis—Swedish citizens’ actions in response to the global financial crisis of 2008," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 796-805.
    9. Dietsch, Michel & Petey, Joël, 2015. "The credit-risk implications of home ownership promotion: The effects of public subsidies and adjustable-rate loans," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 103-120.
    10. Beer, Christian & Ongena, Steven & Peter, Marcel, 2010. "Borrowing in foreign currency: Austrian households as carry traders," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 2198-2211, September.
    11. Sang-yoon Song, 2019. "The Cash-Flow Channel of Monetary Policy: Evidence from Mortgage Borrowers," Working Papers 2019-20, Economic Research Institute, Bank of Korea.
    12. De Bonis, Riccardo & Pozzolo, Alberto Franco & Stacchini, Massimiliano, 2012. "The Italian banking system: Facts and interpretations," Economics & Statistics Discussion Papers esdp12068, University of Molise, Department of Economics.
    13. Jörg Clostermann & Franz Seitz, 2020. "Effektivverzinsung und Volatilität bei Finanzierung mit Zinsbindung und variablen Zinsen [Effective interest rates and volatility for fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortages]," Zeitschrift für Immobilienökonomie (German Journal of Real Estate Research), Springer;Gesellschaft für Immobilienwirtschaftliche Forschung e. V., vol. 6(1), pages 29-46, April.
    14. Michael Ehrmann & Michael Ziegelmeyer, 2017. "Mortgage Choice in the Euro Area: Macroeconomic Determinants and the Effect of Monetary Policy on Debt Burdens," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 49(2-3), pages 469-494, March.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    home purchase finance; adjustable rate mortgages; fixed rate mortgages.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates

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