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Pricing FHA Mortgage Default Insurance


  • Donald F. Cunningham
  • Patric H. Hendershott


The fair premia on FHA mortgage default insurance contracts are computed under alternative assumptions regarding the expected house price inflation rate and its variance and homeowner's default costs. The contracts considered vary by amortization schedule (15 and 30 year level-payment mortgages and two graduated-payment mortgages) and initial loan-to-value ratio (80 to 95.8percent) .The results indicate a wide variation in fair insurance premia. Because FHA charges all borrowers the same premia, large cross-subsidies exist within the program, with borrower's obtaining low loan-to-value or rapidly amortizing loans subsidizing borrowers with high loan-to-value or negative amortizing loans. Moreover, the movement toward insuring riskier loans --graduated payment, price-level adjusted and adjustable rate -- without increasing insurance premia seems almost certain to lead to significant overall losses for the program.

Suggested Citation

  • Donald F. Cunningham & Patric H. Hendershott, 1984. "Pricing FHA Mortgage Default Insurance," NBER Working Papers 1382, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1382
    Note: ME

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Campbell, Tim S & Dietrich, J Kimball, 1983. " The Determinants of Default on Insured Conventional Residential Mortgage Loans," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 38(5), pages 1569-1581, December.
    2. Brennan, Michael J & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1977. "The Valuation of American Put Options," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 449-462, May.
    3. Parks, Richard W, 1978. "Inflation and Relative Price Variability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(1), pages 79-95, February.
    4. Craig Swan, 1982. "Pricing Private Mortgage Insurance," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 10(3), pages 276-296.
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    Cited by:

    1. Elsa Fornero & Annamaria Lusardi & Chiara Monticone, 2009. "Adequacy of Saving for Old Age in Europe," CeRP Working Papers 87, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
    2. Thomas M. Springer & Neil G. Waller, 1993. "Lender Forbearance: Evidence from Mortgage Delinquency Patterns," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 21(1), pages 27-46.
    3. Uhlig, Harald, 2012. "Economics and reality," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 29-41.
    4. Lim, Terence & Lo, Andrew W. & Merton, Robert C. & Scholes, Myron S., 2006. "The Derivatives Sourcebook," Foundations and Trends(R) in Finance, now publishers, vol. 1(5–6), pages 365-572, April.
    5. Haurin, Donald R. & Chung, Eui-Chul, 1998. "The Demand for Owner-Occupied Housing: Implications from Intertemporal Analysis," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 49-68, March.

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