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Mortgage Timing

Author

Listed:
  • Ralph S.J. Koijen
  • Otto Van Hemert
  • Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh

Abstract

The fraction of newly-originated mortgages that are of the adjustable-rate (ARM) versus the fixed-rate (FRM) type exhibits a surprising amount of time variation. A simple utility framework of mortgage choice points to the bond risk premium as theoretical determinant: when the bond risk premium is high, FRM payments are high, making ARMs more attractive. We confirm empirically that the bulk of the time variation in household mortgage choice can be explained by time variation in the bond risk premium. This is true regardless of whether bond risk premia are measured using forecasters' data, a VAR term structure model, or a simple rule-of-thumb based on adaptive expectations. This simple rule-of-thumb moves in lock-step with mortgage choice, thereby lending further credibility to a theory of strategic mortgage timing by households.

Suggested Citation

  • Ralph S.J. Koijen & Otto Van Hemert & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2007. "Mortgage Timing," NBER Working Papers 13361, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13361
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • R2 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis

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