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Moral Hazard in Home Equity Conversion


  • Robert J. Shiller
  • Allan N. Weiss


Home equity conversion as presently constituted or proposed usually does not deal well with the potential problem of moral hazard. Once home-owners know that the risk of poor market performance of their homes is borne by investors, they have an incentive to neglect to take steps to maintain the homes' values. They may thus create serious future losses for the investors. A calibrated model for assessing this moral hazard risk is presented that is suitable for a number of home equity conversion forms: 1) reverse mortgages, 2) home equity insurance, 3) shared appreciation mortgages, 4) housing partnerships, 5) shared equity mortgages and 6) sale of remainder interest. Modifications of these forms involving real estate price indices are proposed that might deal better with the problem of moral hazard.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. Shiller & Allan N. Weiss, 1998. "Moral Hazard in Home Equity Conversion," NBER Working Papers 6552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6552
    Note: AP

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Asabere, Paul K & Huffman, Forrest E, 1993. "Price Concessions, Time on the Market, and the Actual Sale Price of Homes," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 167-174, March.
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    4. Michel Glower & Donald R. Haurin & Patric H. Hendershott, 1995. "Selling Price and Selling Time: The Impact of Seller Motivation," NBER Working Papers 5071, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Donald Haurin, 1988. "The Duration of Marketing Time of Residential Housing," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 16(4), pages 396-410.
    6. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
    7. Thomas J. Miceli & C.F. Sirmans, 1994. "Reverse Mortgages and Borrower Maintenance Risk," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 22(2), pages 433-450.
    8. Asabere, Paul K & Huffman, Forrest E & Johnson, Rose L, 1996. "Contract Expiration and Sales Price," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 255-262, November.
    9. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller & Allan N. Weiss, 1991. "Index-Based Futures and Options Markets in Real Estate," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1006, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mitchell, Olivia S. & Piggott, John, 2004. "Unlocking housing equity in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 466-505, December.
    2. Ebrahim, M. Shahid & Shackleton, Mark B. & Wojakowski, Rafal M., 2011. "Participating mortgages and the efficiency of financial intermediation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 3042-3054, November.
    3. Mayer, Chris & Piskorski, Tomasz & Tchistyi, Alexei, 2013. "The inefficiency of refinancing: Why prepayment penalties are good for risky borrowers," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(3), pages 694-714.
    4. Johnny Siu-Hang Li & Mary R. Hardy & Ken Seng Tan, 2010. "On Pricing and Hedging the No-Negative-Equity Guarantee in Equity Release Mechanisms," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 77(2), pages 499-522.
    5. Andrew Caplin & William Goetzmann & Eric Hangen & Barry Nalebuff & Elisabeth Prentice & John Rodkin & Matthew Spiegel & Tom Skinner, 2003. "Home Equity Insurance: A Pilot Project," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm372, Yale School of Management, revised 23 Jan 2006.
    6. Engelhardt, Gary V., 2003. "Nominal loss aversion, housing equity constraints, and household mobility: evidence from the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 171-195, January.
    7. Ebrahim, M. Shahid, 2009. "Can an Islamic model of housing finance cooperative elevate the economic status of the underprivileged?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 864-883, December.
    8. Moulton, Stephanie & Haurin, Donald R. & Shi, Wei, 2015. "An analysis of default risk in the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 17-34.
    9. Joseph Nichols, 2004. "A Life-cycle Model with Housing, Portfolio Allocation, and Mortgage Financing," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 205, Econometric Society.
    10. Arthur Grimes & Suzi Kerr & Andrew Aitken, 2004. "Bi-Directions Impacts of Economic, Social and Environmental Changes and the New Zealand Housing Market," Working Papers 04_09, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
    11. William Goetzmann & Matthew Spiegel, 2000. "The Policy Implications of Portfolio Choice in Underserved Mortgage Markets," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm161, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Mar 2001.
    12. Sanders, Anthony B. & Slawson, V. Jr., 2005. "Shared appreciation mortgages: Lessons from the UK," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 178-193, September.
    13. Hu, Xiaoqing, 2005. "Portfolio choices for homeowners," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 114-136, July.
    14. David Miles, 2012. "Population Density, House Prices and Mortgage Design," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 59(5), pages 444-466, November.
    15. Diego A. Salzman & Remco C.J. Zwinkels, 2013. "Behavioural Real Estate," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-088/IV/DSF58, Tinbergen Institute.

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    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages


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