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Equity and Nonequity Determinants of FHA Single-Family Mortgage Foreclosures in the 1980s

  • Patric H. Hendershott
  • William R. Schultz

We examine foreclosures on FHA single family mortgages insured during 1975-87. The importance of the market value of borrower equity, and of the dispersion of national house prices support much earlier work emphasizing the key role of negative equity in triggering default. The lower the "mean" market value of equity is, and the greater dispersion is, the more borrowers will be likely to have negative equity. The unemployment rate and the book value of borrower equity also are significant determinants of default. Unemployment is one event that can force borrowers to move. The decision to move increases the likelihood of default, because moving costs no longer deter default, and the costs of selling the house reduce the effective equity in the house. The book value of equity also is relevant to this decision, because it is what sellers will receive if they move without defaulting. Both of these variables are significant determinants of default, but the employment impact rises as book equity declines (with large book equity, unemployment should not matter, because selling the house is preferred to default).

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4440.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4440.

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Date of creation: Aug 1993
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Publication status: published as Patric H. Hendershott & William R. Schultz, 1993. "Equity and Nonequity Determinants of FHA Single-Family Mortgage Foreclosures in the 1980s," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 21(4), pages 405-430.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4440
Note: PE
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  1. Chester Foster & Robert Order, 1985. "FHA Terminations: A Prelude to Rational Mortgage Pricing," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 13(3), pages 273-291.
  2. Kerry D. Vandell & Thomas Thibodeau, 1985. "Estimation of Mortgage Defaults Using Disaggregate Loan History Data," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 13(3), pages 292-316.
  3. Patric H. Hendershott, 1985. "Pricing Adjustable Rate Mortgages," NBER Working Papers 1548, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. S. Michael Giliberto & Arthur L. Houston, 1989. "Relocation Opportunities and Mortgage Default," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 17(1), pages 55-69.
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