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How Do Foreclosures Exacerbate Housing Downturns?

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  • Adam M. Guren
  • Timothy J. McQuade

Abstract

This paper uses a structural model to show that foreclosures played a crucial role in exacerbating the recent housing bust and to analyze foreclosure mitigation policy. We consider a dynamic search model in which foreclosures freeze the market for non-foreclosures and reduce price and sales volume by eroding lender equity, destroying the credit of potential buyers, and making buyers more selective. These effects cause price-default spirals that amplify an initial shock and help the model fit both national and cross-sectional moments better than a model without foreclosure. When calibrated to the recent bust, the model reveals that the amplification generated by foreclosures is significant: Ruined credit and choosey buyers account for 25.4 percent of the total decline in non-distressed prices and lender losses account for an additional 22.6 percent. For policy, we find that principal reduction is less cost effective than lender equity injections or introducing a single seller that holds foreclosures off the market until demand rebounds. We also show that policies that slow down the pace of foreclosures can be counterproductive.

Suggested Citation

  • Adam M. Guren & Timothy J. McQuade, 2019. "How Do Foreclosures Exacerbate Housing Downturns?," NBER Working Papers 26216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26216
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    1. Eric Zwick & Charles Nathanson & Anthony DeFusco, 2017. "Speculative Dynamics of Prices and Volume," 2017 Meeting Papers 239, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. David Berger & Nicholas Turner & Eric Zwick, 2020. "Stimulating Housing Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 75(1), pages 277-321, February.
    3. Biswas, Arnab & Cunningham, Chris & Gerardi, Kristopher & Sexton, Daniel, 2021. "Foreclosure externalities and Vacant Property Registration Ordinances," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C).
    4. Do, Hung Xuan & Rösch, Daniel & Scheule, Harald, 2018. "Predicting loss severities for residential mortgage loans: A three-step selection approach," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 270(1), pages 246-259.
    5. Espen R Moen & Plamen T Nenov & Florian Sniekers, 2021. "Buying First or Selling First in Housing Markets," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 38-81.
    6. Michele Loberto, 2021. "Foreclosures and house prices," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1325, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    7. Jack Favilukis & Pierre Mabille & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2018. "Affordable Housing and City Welfare," 2018 Meeting Papers 867, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Marcel Fischer & Roland Füss & Simon Stehle, 2021. "Local house price comovements," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 49(S1), pages 169-198, March.
    9. Hongfei Sun & Chenggang Zhou & Allen Head, 2016. "Default, Mortgage Standards, and Housing Liquidity," 2016 Meeting Papers 625, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Greg Kaplan & Kurt Mitman & Giovanni L. Violante, 2020. "The Housing Boom and Bust: Model Meets Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(9), pages 3285-3345.
    11. Lingxiao Li & Bing Zhu, 2020. "Housing Wealth, Consumption Channels and Mortgage Liberalization," International Real Estate Review, Global Social Science Institute, vol. 23(4), pages 433-465.
    12. Sophia Gilbukh & Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, 2019. "Heterogeneous Real Estate Agents and the Housing Cycle," 2019 Meeting Papers 932, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. Stephen L. Ross & Yuan Wang, 2022. "Mortgage Lenders and the Geographic Concentration of Foreclosures," Working Papers 2022-001, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    14. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2018. "Finance and Business Cycles: The Credit-Driven Household Demand Channel," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 31-58, Summer.
    15. Hedlund, Aaron, 2016. "Illiquidity and its discontents: Trading delays and foreclosures in the housing market," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 1-13.
    16. Christos A. Makridis & Michael Ohlrogge, 2022. "Foreclosure spillovers and individual well‐being: Evidence from the Great Recession," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 50(1), pages 122-146, March.
    17. Diamond, Rebecca & Guren, Adam & Tan, Rose, 2020. "The Effect of Foreclosures on Homeowners, Tenants, and Landlords," Research Papers 3877, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    18. Adam M. Guren & Arvind Krishnamurthy & Timothy J. Mcquade, 2021. "Mortgage Design in an Equilibrium Model of the Housing Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 76(1), pages 113-168, February.

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    JEL classification:

    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • 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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