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Credit History and the FHA-Conventional Choice


  • Anthony Pennington-Cross
  • Joseph Nichols


Models of household choice of conventional and FHA financing typically use differential insurance premiums, loan to value and payment to income underwriting standards, and local economic conditions to explain household behavior. The credit history of the borrower has not been included in these models. In this paper we expand the standard conditional FHA choice model by including various measures of borrower credit history using a sample of over 40,000 loans from 40 MSAs. We find that the ability of a homebuyer to avoid credit problems in the past is an important indicator of the FHA-conventional choice, but borrower demographic characteristics, location, downpayment, and income also play a significant role. For instance, a one standard deviation increase in the FICO score decreases the odds of choosing FHA financing by approximately 95%. In short, credit history is a powerful indicator of the FHA-conventional choice In addition, we test for differences in credit history distributions across different sub-samples of homebuyers. While FHA borrowers do have lower FICO scores on average, there is a substantial overlap of scores. As LTV rises, conventional and FHA FICO score distributions become more alike. In general, FICO scores improve when LTV and PTI are lower and income is higher.

Suggested Citation

  • Anthony Pennington-Cross & Joseph Nichols, "undated". "Credit History and the FHA-Conventional Choice," Zell/Lurie Center Working Papers 319, Wharton School Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:pennzl:319

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gyourko, Joseph & Tracy, Joseph, 1991. "The Structure of Local Public Finance and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 774-806, August.
    2. Goodman, John Jr. & Ittner, John B., 1992. "The accuracy of home owners' estimates of house value," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 339-357, December.
    3. Fischel, William A, 1992. "Property Taxation and the Tiebout Model: Evidence for the Benefit View from Zoning and Voting," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 171-177, March.
    4. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2005. "Urban Decline and Durable Housing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 345-375, April.
    5. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-1278, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Karikari & Ioan Voicu & Irene Fang, 2011. "FHA vs. Subprime Mortgage Originations: Is FHA the Answer to Subprime Lending?," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 43(4), pages 441-458, November.
    2. Qianqian Cao & Shimeng Liu, 2015. "The Impact of State Foreclosure and Bankruptcy Laws on Higher-Risk Lending: Evidence from FHA and Subprime Mortgage Originations," Working Paper 9411, USC Lusk Center for Real Estate.
    3. Souphala Chomsisengphet & Ronel Elul, 2005. "Bankruptcy exemptions, credit history, and the mortgage market," Working Papers 04-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    4. Ambrose, Brent W. & Pennington-Cross, Anthony & Yezer, Anthony M., 2002. "Credit Rationing in the U.S. Mortgage Market: Evidence from Variation in FHA Market Shares," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 272-294, March.
    5. Gerardi Kristopher & Willen Paul, 2009. "Subprime Mortgages, Foreclosures, and Urban Neighborhoods," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(3), pages 1-37, March.
    6. repec:kap:jrefec:v:56:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11146-017-9597-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Musto, David K. & Souleles, Nicholas S., 2006. "A portfolio view of consumer credit," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 59-84, January.
    8. Joseph Nichols & Anthony Pennington-Cross & Anthony Yezer, 2004. "Borrower Self-Selection, Underwriting Costs, and Subprime Mortgage Credit Supply," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 197-219, November.
    9. Gary Painter & Christian L. Redfearn, 2001. "The Role of Interest Rates in Influencing Long-Run Homeownership Rates," Working Paper 8629, USC Lusk Center for Real Estate.
    10. Gyourko, Joseph & Hu, Dapeng, 2002. "Spatial distribution of affordable home loan purchases in major metropolitan areas: documentation and analysis," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 549-589, September.
    11. Park, Kevin A., 2016. "FHA loan performance and adverse selection in mortgage insurance," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 82-97.
    12. Brent Smith, 2012. "Lending Through the Cycle: The Federal Housing Administration’s Evolving Risk in the Primary Market," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 40(3), pages 253-271, September.
    13. Francesca Castelli & Damien Moore & Gabriel Ehrlich & Jeffrey Perry, 2014. "Modeling the Budgetary Costs of FHA's Single Family Mortgage Insurance: Working Paper 2014-05," Working Papers 45711, Congressional Budget Office.
    14. Rubén Hernández-Murillo & Rajdeep Sengupta, 2011. "The effect of neighborhood contagion on mortgage selection," Working Papers 2011-036, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    15. Paul K. Asabere & Forrest Huffman, 2008. "FHA/VA Financing and Price Discounts," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 30(2), pages 191-206.
    16. Ambrose, Brent W. & Pennington-Cross, Anthony, 2000. "Local economic risk factors and the primary and secondary mortgage markets," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 683-701, December.
    17. Bree Lang & Ellen Hurst, 2014. "The Effect of Down Payment Assistance on Mortgage Choice," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 329-351, October.
    18. Chomsisengphet, Souphala & Elul, Ronel, 2006. "Bankruptcy exemptions, credit history, and the mortgage market," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 171-188, January.
    19. Jonathan Spader & Roberto Quercia, 2012. "CRA Lending in a Changing Context: Evidence of Interaction with FHA and Subprime Originations," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 44(4), pages 505-525, May.

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