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House Price Beliefs And Mortgage Leverage Choice

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  • Michael Bailey
  • Eduardo Dávila
  • Theresa Kuchler
  • Johannes Stroebel

Abstract

We study the relationship between homebuyers' beliefs about future house price changes and their mortgage leverage choices. From a theoretical perspective, whether more pessimistic homebuyers choose more or less leverage is ambiguous and depends on their willingness to reduce the size of their housing investment. When households primarily maximize the levered return of their property investment, more pessimistic homebuyers reduce their leverage to purchase smaller houses. On the other hand, when considerations such as family size pin down the desired property size, pessimistic homebuyers reduce their financial exposure to the housing market by making smaller downpayments to buy similarly-sized homes. To determine which scenario better describes the data, we empirically investigate the cross-sectional relationship between beliefs and leverage choices in the U.S. housing market. Our data combine mortgage financing information and a housing market expectations survey with anonymized social network data from Facebook. The survey shows that an individual's belief distribution about future house price changes is affected by the recent house price experiences of her geographically distant friends, allowing us to use these experiences as quasi-exogenous shifters of individuals' house price beliefs. We find that more pessimistic homebuyers make smaller downpayments and choose higher leverage, in particular in states where default costs are relatively low, as well as during periods when house prices are expected to fall on average. Overall, our results provide evidence for an important role of heterogeneous beliefs in explaining individuals' financial decision-making.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Bailey & Eduardo Dávila & Theresa Kuchler & Johannes Stroebel, 2017. "House Price Beliefs And Mortgage Leverage Choice," NBER Working Papers 24091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24091
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    Cited by:

    1. Goldfayn-Frank, Olga & Wohlfart, Johannes, 2018. "How do consumers adapt to a new environment in their economic forecasting? Evidence from the German reunification," IMFS Working Paper Series 129, Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS).
    2. Christopher Roth & Sonja Settele & Johannes Wohlfart, 2020. "Risk Exposure and Acquisition of Macroeconomic Information," CESifo Working Paper Series 8634, CESifo.
    3. Theresa Kuchler & Arlene Wong & Johannes Stroebel, 2018. "Peer effects in product adoption," 2018 Meeting Papers 1001, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Pancrazi, Roberto & Pietrunti, Mario, 2019. "Natural expectations and home equity extraction," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C).
    5. Bailey, Michael & Farrell, Patrick & Kuchler, Theresa & Stroebel, Johannes, 2020. "Social connectedness in urban areas," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C).
    6. Xiaoqing Zhou, . "Mortgage borrowing and the boom-bust cycle in consumption and residential investment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Diemer, Andreas & Regan, Tanner, 2020. "No inventor is an island: social connectedness and the geography of knowledge flows in the US," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 108500, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    8. Manuel Adelino & William B. McCartney & Antoinette Schoar, 2020. "The Role of Government and Private Institutions in Credit Cycles in the U.S. Mortgage Market," NBER Working Papers 27499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Kerim Peren Arin & Juan A. Lacomba & Francisco Lagos & Ana I. Moro-Egido & Marcel Thum, 2021. "Socio-Economic Attitudes in the Era of Social Distancing and Lockdowns," CESifo Working Paper Series 8845, CESifo.
    10. Ben-David, Itzhak & Fermand, Elyas & Kuhnen, Camelia M. & Li, Geng, 2018. "Expectations Uncertainty and Household Economic Behavior," Working Paper Series 2018-25, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
    11. Manuel Adelino & W. Ben McCartney & Antoinette Schoar, 2020. "The Role of Government and Private Institutions in Credit Cycles in the U.S. Mortgage Market," Working Papers 20-40, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    12. J. Anthony Cookson & Erik P. Gilje & Rawley Z. Heimer, 2020. "Shale Shocked: Cash Windfalls and Household Debt Repayment," NBER Working Papers 27782, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Alexander Ludwig & Jochen Mankart & Jorge Quintana & Mirko Wiederholt & Nathanael Vellekoop, 2019. "House Price Expectations and Housing Choice," 2019 Meeting Papers 848, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. Xiaoqing Zhou, . "Mortgage borrowing and the boom-bust cycle in consumption and residential investment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics.
    15. Kuchler, Theresa & Pagel, Michaela, 2021. "Sticking to your plan: The role of present bias for credit card paydown," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 139(2), pages 359-388.
    16. Gomes, Francisco J & Haliassos, Michael & Ramadorai, Tarun, 2020. "Household Finance," CEPR Discussion Papers 14502, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Goeyvaerts, Geert & Buyst, Erik, 2019. "Do market rents reflect user costs?," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 112-130.
    18. Peter Andre & Carlo Pizzinelli & Christopher Roth & Johannes Wohlfart, 2019. "Subjective Models Of The Macroeconomy: Evidence From Experts And A Representative Sample," CEBI working paper series 19-11, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. The Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI).
    19. Su, Chi-Wei & Cai, Xu-Yu & Qin, Meng & Tao, Ran & Umar, Muhammad, 2021. "Can bank credit withstand falling house price in China?," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 257-267.
    20. Francesco D’Acunto & Ulrike Malmendier & Juan Ospina & Michael Weber, 2019. "Exposure to Daily Price Changes and Inflation Expectations," NBER Working Papers 26237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. David Hirshleifer, 2020. "Presidential Address: Social Transmission Bias in Economics and Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 75(4), pages 1779-1831, August.
    22. Eunseong Ma & Sarah Zubairy, 2021. "Homeownership And Housing Transitions: Explaining The Demographic Composition," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 62(2), pages 599-638, May.
    23. Bailey, Michael & Gupta, Abhinav & Hillenbrand, Sebastian & Kuchler, Theresa & Richmond, Robert & Stroebel, Johannes, 2021. "International trade and social connectedness," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    24. Simona Malovaná & Martin Hodula & Jan Frait, 2021. "What Does Really Drive Consumer Confidence?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 885-913, June.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • E03 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Macroeconomics
    • G0 - Financial Economics - - General
    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand
    • R30 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - General

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