What Happens When Regulatory Capital Is Marked to Market?
Minimum equity capital requirements are a key part of bank regulation. But there is little agreement about the right way to measure regulatory capital. One of the key debates is the extent to which capital ratios should be based on current market values rather than historical ?accrual? values of assets and liabilities. In a new research paper, we investigate the effects of a recent regulatory change that ties regulatory capital directly to the market value of the securities portfolio for some banks.
What would you do with $500? Spending responses to gains, losses, news, and loans
We use survey questions about spending to investigate features of propensities to consume that are useful for distinguishing between consumption theories. Asking households about their intended spending under various scenarios, we find that 1) responses to unanticipated gains are vastly heterogeneous (either zero or substantially positive), 2) responses to losses are much larger and more widespread than responses to gains, and 3) even those with large responses to gains do not respond to news about future gains. These three findings suggest that limited access to disposable resources is an ...
Houses as ATMs No Longer
Housing equity is the primary form of collateral that households use for borrowing. This makes it a potentially important source of consumption funding, especially for younger households. In a previous post we showed that owner’s equity in residential real estate has finally, thanks to increasing home prices, rebounded to and essentially re-attained its 2005 peak level. Yet in spite of a gain of more than $7 trillion in housing equity since 2012, so far homeowners haven’t been tapping this equity at anything like the pace we witnessed during the housing boom that ended in 2006. In this ...
Regulation and risk shuffling in bank securities portfolios
Bank capital requirements are based on a mix of market values and book values. We investigate the effects of a policy change that ties regulatory capital to the market value of the ?available-for-sale" investment securities portfolio for some banking organizations. Our analysis is based on security-level data on individual bank portfolios matched to bond characteristics. We find little clear evidence that banks respond by reducing the riskiness of their securities portfolios, although there is some evidence of a greater use of derivatives to hedge securities exposures. Instead, banks respond ...
How Resilient Is the U.S. Housing Market Now?
Housing is by far the most important asset for most households, and, not coincidentally, housing debt dwarfs other household liabilities. The relationship between housing debt and housing values figures significantly in financial and macroeconomic stability, as events during the housing bust of 2006-12 clearly demonstrated. This week, Liberty Street Economics presents five posts touching on various aspects of housing, from the changing relationship between mortgage debt and housing equity to the future of homeownership. In today’s post, we provide estimates of housing equity and explore how ...
The sensitivity of housing demand to financing conditions: evidence from a survey
The sensitivity of housing demand to mortgage rates and available leverage is key to understanding the effect of monetary and macroprudential policies on the housing market. However, since there is generally no exogenous variation in these variables that is independent of confounding factors (such as economic conditions or household characteristics), it is difficult to cleanly estimate these sensitivities empirically. We circumvent these issues by designing a strategic survey in which respondents are asked for their willingness to pay (WTP) for a home comparable to their current one, under ...
The role of technology in mortgage lending
Technology-based (?FinTech?) lenders increased their market share of U.S. mortgage lending from 2 percent to 8 percent from 2010 to 2016. Using market-wide, loan-level data on U.S. mortgage applications and originations, we show that FinTech lenders process mortgage applications about 20 percent faster than other lenders, even when controlling for detailed loan, borrower, and geographic observables. Faster processing does not come at the cost of higher defaults. FinTech lenders adjust supply more elastically than other lenders in response to exogenous mortgage demand shocks, thereby ...
The Evolution of Home Equity Ownership
In yesterday’s post, we discussed the extreme swings that household leverage has taken since 2005, using combined loan-to-value (CLTV) ratios for housing as our metric. We also explored the risks that current household leverage presents in the event of a significant downturn in prices. Today we reverse the perspective, and consider housing equity—the value of housing net of all debt for which it serves as collateral. For the majority of households, housing equity is the principal form of wealth, other than human capital, and it thus represents an important form of potential collateral for ...
Rethinking Mortgage Design
Because mortgages make up the majority of household debt in most developed countries, mortgage design has important implications for macroeconomic policy and household welfare. As one example, most U.S. mortgages have fixed interest rates?if interest rates fall, existing borrowers need to refinance to lower their interest payments. In practice, households are often slow to refinance, or may not be able to do so. As a result, the transmission of U.S. monetary policy is dampened relative to countries like the United Kingdom where mortgage rates on most loans adjust automatically with short-term ...
Paying Too Much? Price Dispersion in the U.S. Mortgage Market
We document wide dispersion in the mortgage rates that households pay on identical loans, and show that borrowers' financial sophistication is an important determinant of the rates obtained. We estimate a gap between the 10th and 90th percentile mortgage rate that borrowers with the same characteristics obtain for identical loans, in the same market, on the same day, of 54 basis points|equivalent to about $6,500 in upfront costs (points) for the average loan. Time-invariant lender attributes explain little of this rate dispersion, and considerable dispersion remains even within loan officer. ...