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Subprime Mortgages: What, Where, and to Whom?

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  • Christopher J. Mayer
  • Karen Pence

Abstract

We explore the types of data used to characterize risky subprime lending and consider the geographic dispersion of subprime lending. First, we describe the strengths and weaknesses of three different datasets on subprime mortgages using information from LoanPerformance, HUD, and HMDA. These datasets embody different definitions of subprime mortgages. We show that estimates of the number of subprime originations are somewhat sensitive to which types of mortgages are categorized as subprime. Second, we describe what parts of the country and what sorts of neighborhoods had more subprime originations in 2005, and how these patterns differed for purchase and refinance mortgages. Subprime originations appear to be heavily concentrated in fast-growing parts of the country with considerable new construction, such as Florida, California, Nevada, and the Washington DC area. These locations saw house prices rise at faster-than-average rates relative to their own history and relative to the rest of the country. However, this link between construction, house prices, and subprime lending is not universal, as other markets with high house price growth such as the Northeast did not see especially high rates of subprime usage. Subprime loans were also heavily concentrated in zip codes with more residents in the moderate credit score category and more black and Hispanic residents. Areas with lower income and higher unemployment had more subprime lending, but these associations are smaller in magnitude.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher J. Mayer & Karen Pence, 2008. "Subprime Mortgages: What, Where, and to Whom?," NBER Working Papers 14083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14083
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2008. "The Consequences of Mortgage Credit Expansion: Evidence from the 2007 Mortgage Default Crisis," NBER Working Papers 13936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gabriel, Stuart A. & Rosenthal, Stuart S., 2005. "Homeownership in the 1980s and 1990s: aggregate trends and racial gaps," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 101-127, January.
    3. Robert B. Avery & Kenneth P. Brevoort & Glenn B. Canner, 2007. "The 2006 HMDA data," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Sep, pages 73-109.
    4. Yuliya Demyanyk & Otto Van Hemert, 2011. "Understanding the Subprime Mortgage Crisis," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(6), pages 1848-1880.
    5. 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.
    6. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst, 2002. "The Transition To Home Ownership And The Black-White Wealth Gap," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 281-297, May.
    7. Robert B. Avery & Glenn B. Canner & Robert E. Cook, 2005. "New information reported under HMDA and its application in fair lending enforcement," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Sum, pages 344-394.
    8. repec:fip:fedgws:y:2007:i:sep:n:v.93 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:fip:fedgws:v.93 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Bostic, Raphael W. & Engel, Kathleen C. & McCoy, Patricia A. & Pennington-Cross, Anthony & Wachter, Susan M., 2008. "State and local anti-predatory lending laws: The effect of legal enforcement mechanisms," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 60(1-2), pages 47-66.
    11. Yuliya Demyanyk & Otto Van Hemert, 2007. "Understanding the subprime mortgage crisis," Supervisory Policy Analysis Working Papers 2007-05, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    12. Anthony Pennington-Cross & Giang Ho, 2010. "The Termination of Subprime Hybrid and Fixed-Rate Mortgages," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 38(3), pages 399-426.
    13. Benjamin J. Keys & Tanmoy Mukherjee & Amit Seru & Vikrant Vig, 2010. "Did Securitization Lead to Lax Screening? Evidence from Subprime Loans," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 307-362.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • R2 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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