Credit Access and Mobility during the Flint Water Crisis
How do credit-constrained communities cope with the financial consequences of environmental crises? Beginning in April 2014, the residents of Flint, Michigan, were exposed to lead-contaminated water resulting from a series of governmental missteps. In this paper, we use the spatial distribution of lead and galvanized pipes in Flint to study the effect of the crisis on households’ financial health, including loan balances, repayment of outstanding debt, and Equifax Risk Scores, as well as on household mobility. We find that relatively more affected households, as measured by exposure to lead ...
The Determinants of Subprime Mortgage Performance Following a Loan Modification
We examine the evolution of mortgage modification terms obtained by distressed subprime borrowers during the recent housing crisis, and the effect of the various types of modifications on the subsequent loan performance. Using the CoreLogic LoanPerformance dataset that contains detailed loan level information on mortgages, modification terms, second liens, and home values, we estimate a discrete time proportional hazard model with competing risks to examine the determinants of post-modification mortgage outcomes. We find that principal reductions are particularly effective at improving loan ...
Household formation over time: evidence from two cohorts of young adults
This paper analyzes household formation in the United States using data from two cohorts of the national Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY)?the 1979 cohort and the 1997 cohort. The analysis focuses on how various demographic and economic factors impact household formation both within cohorts and over time across cohorts. The results show that there are substantial differences over time in the share of young adults living with their parents. Differences in housing costs and business-cycle conditions can explain up to 70 percent of the difference in household-formation rates across cohorts. ...
How Do Housing Markets Affect Local Consumer Prices? – Evidence from U.S. Cities
Analyzing city-level retail price data for a variety of consumer products, we find that house price changes lead local consumer price changes, but not vice versa. The transmission of the house price changes differs substantially across locations and products. It also hinges on the nature of housing market shocks; housing supply shocks propagate through the cost-push channel via local cost and markup effects, while housing demand shocks transmit through conventional wealth and collateral effects. Our findings suggest that housing may exert greater impacts on the local cost-of-living and ...
Making Sense of Increased Synchronization in Global House Prices
Evidence indicates that house prices have become somewhat more synchronized during this century, likely reflecting more correlated movements in long-term interest rates and macroeconomic cycles that are related to trends in globalization and international portfolio diversification. Nevertheless, the trend toward increased synchronization has not been continuous, reflecting that house prices depend on other fundamentals, which are not uniform across countries or cities. Theory and limited econometric evidence indicate that the more common are fundamentals, the more in-synch house price cycles ...
A Crisis of Missed Opportunities? Foreclosure Costs and Mortgage Modification During the Great Recession
We investigate the impact of Great Recession policies in California that substantially increased lender pecuniary and time costs of foreclosure. We estimate that the California Foreclosure Prevention Laws (CFPLs) prevented 250,000 California foreclosures (a 20% reduction) and created $300 billion in housing wealth. The CFPLs boosted mortgage modifications and reduced borrower transitions into default. They also mitigated foreclosure externalities via increased maintenance spending on homes that entered foreclosure. The CFPLs had minimal adverse side effects on the availability of mortgage ...
Mortgage Choice: Interactive Effects of House Price Appreciation and Mortgage Pricing Components
Research has shown evidence of a link between house price appreciation and the selection of mortgage financing options: Higher appreciation is associated with higher take-up rates for adjustable-rate mortgages relative to fixed-rate mortgages. Research also finds that mortgage interest rates and their underlying components are important determinants of take-up rates among mortgage financing options. In this paper we show that house price appreciation can have important interactive effects with those other determinants of mortgage financing outcomes. We focus on the period from 2000 to 2007, ...
Recent developments in home equity lending
The equity that has accumulated in homes is one of the largest components of U.S. household wealth. In recent years, many homeowners have borrowed large amounts against that equity, frequently to finance new consumption expenditures or pay down outstanding consumer debt. In view of the growing importance of home equity credit in household finances, the Federal Reserve has for a number of years participated in nationwide surveys of the use of home equity loans. This article presents findings from a 1997 survey and from other sources of information on home equity lending.
Fintech Lending and Mortgage Credit Access
Following the 2008 financial crisis, mortgage credit tightened and banks lost significant mortgage market share to nonbank lenders, including to fintech firms recently. Have fintech firms expanded credit access, or are their customers similar to those of traditional lenders? Unlike in small business and unsecured consumers lending, fintech mortgage lenders do not have the same incentives or flexibility to use alternative data for credit decisions because of stringent mortgage origination requirements. Fintech loans are broadly similar to those made by traditional lenders, despite innovations ...
Recourse and residential mortgages: the case of Nevada
The state of Nevada passed legislation in 2009 that abolished deficiency judgments for purchase mortgage loans made after October 1, 2009, and collateralized by primary single-family homes. In this paper, we study how the law change affected lenders? decisions to grant mortgages and borrowers? decisions to apply for them and subsequently default. Using unique mortgage loan-level application and performance data, we find strong evidence that lenders tightened their lending standards for mortgages affected by the new legislation. In particular, lenders reduced approval rates and loan sizes for ...