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What Drives Racial and Ethnic Differences in High Cost Mortgages? The Role of High Risk Lenders


  • Patrick Bayer

    (Duke University)

  • Fernando V. Ferreira

    (University of Pennsylvania)

  • Stephen L. Ross

    (University of Connecticut)


This paper examines racial and ethnic differences in high cost mortgage lending in seven diverse metropolitan areas from 2004-2007. Even after controlling for credit score and other key risk factors, African-American and Hispanic home buyers are 105 and 78 percent more likely to have high cost mortgages for home purchases. The increased incidence of high cost mortgages is attributable both to sorting across lenders (60-65 percent) and to differential treatment of equally qualified borrowers by lenders (35-40 percent). The vast majority of the racial and ethnic differences across lender can be explained by a single measure of the lender’s foreclosure risk and most of the within-lender differences are concentrated at high-risk lenders. Thus, differential exposure to high-risk lenders combined with the differential treatment by these lenders explains almost all of the racial and ethnic differences in high cost mortgage borrowing.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick Bayer & Fernando V. Ferreira & Stephen L. Ross, 2016. "What Drives Racial and Ethnic Differences in High Cost Mortgages? The Role of High Risk Lenders," Working papers 2016-02, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2016-02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Patrick Bayer & Fernando Ferreira & Stephen L. Ross, 2016. "The Vulnerability of Minority Homeowners in the Housing Boom and Bust," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 1-27, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Loayza,Norman V. & Ouazad,Amine & Ranciere,Romain, 2017. "Financial development, growth, and crisis: is there a trade-off ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8237, The World Bank.

    More about this item


    Mortgage Lender; Cost of Credit; Race; Ethnicity; Ratespread Loans; Foreclosure Risk; Delinquency Risk; Subprime; Credit Score; Loan to Value Ratio; Disadvantaged Neighborhood;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand

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