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Loan Originations and Defaults in the Mortgage Crisis: The Role of the Middle Class

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  • Manuel Adelino
  • Antoinette Schoar
  • Felipe Severino

Abstract

We provide new facts on the debt dynamics leading up to the financial crisis of 2007. Earlier research suggests that distortions in the supply of mortgage credit, evidenced by a decoupling of credit flow from income growth, may have caused the rise in house prices and the subsequent housing market collapse. This paper shows that the increase in mortgage originations was shared across the whole distribution of borrowers, and that middle- and high-income borrowers made up the majority of originations even at the peak of the boom. Compared to prior years, middle- and high-income borrowers (not the poor), as well as those with medium and high credit scores, made up a much larger share of delinquencies in the crisis relative to earlier years. We show that the relation between individual mortgage size and income growth during the housing boom was always strongly positive, also in line with previous periods (and independent of how income is measured). These results are most consistent with an expectations based view of the financial crisis in which both homebuyers and lenders were buying into increasing housing values and defaulted once prices dropped.

Suggested Citation

  • Manuel Adelino & Antoinette Schoar & Felipe Severino, 2015. "Loan Originations and Defaults in the Mortgage Crisis: The Role of the Middle Class," NBER Working Papers 20848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20848
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fernando Ferreira & Joseph Gyourko, 2011. "Anatomy of the Beginning of the Housing Boom: U.S. Neighborhoods and Metropolitan Areas, 1993-2009," NBER Working Papers 17374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Divya Kirti, 2018. "Lending Standards and Output Growth," IMF Working Papers 2018/023, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Stefania Albanesi, 2016. "Credit Growth and the Financial Crisis: A New Narrative," 2016 Meeting Papers 575, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Manuel Adelino & Antoinette Schoar & Felipe Severino, 2015. "Loan Originations and Defaults in the Mortgage Crisis: Further Evidence," NBER Working Papers 21320, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2017. "Fraudulent Income Overstatement on Mortgage Applications During the Credit Expansion of 2002 to 2005," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 30(6), pages 1832-1864.
    5. Piazzesi, M. & Schneider, M., 2016. "Housing and Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.),Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 1547-1640, Elsevier.
    6. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio E. Primiceri & Andrea Tambalotti, 2016. "A Simple Model of Subprime Borrowers and Credit Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 543-547, May.
    7. Cristian Badarinza & John Y. Campbell & Tarun Ramadorai, 2016. "International Comparative Household Finance," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 8(1), pages 111-144, October.
    8. Divya Kirti, 2018. "Lending standards and output growth," 2018 Meeting Papers 203, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Samuel Dodini & Donald R. Haurin & Stephanie Moulton & Maximilian D. Schmeiser, 2015. "How House Price Dynamics and Credit Constraints affect the Equity Extraction of Senior Homeowners," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-70, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    10. Arthur Acolin & Jesse Bricker & Paul Calem & Susan Wachter, 2016. "Borrowing Constraints and Homeownership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 625-629, May.
    11. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2015. "Household Debt and Defaults from 2000 to 2010: Facts from Credit Bureau Data," NBER Working Papers 21203, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G0 - Financial Economics - - General
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • R2 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis

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