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Jel Classification:R30 

Working Paper
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 ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-053

Working Paper
Financing Affordable and Sustainable Homeownership with Fixed-COFI Mortgages

The 30-year fixed-rate fully amortizing mortgage (or ?traditional fixed-rate mortgage?) was a substantial innovation when first developed during the Great Depression. However, it has three major flaws. First, because homeowner equity accumulates slowly during the first decade, homeowners are essentially renting their homes from lenders. With this sluggish equity accumulation, many lenders require large down payments. Second, in each monthly mortgage payment, homeowners substantially compensate capital markets investors for the ability to prepay. The homeowners might have better uses for this ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2018-009

Working Paper
Land Price Dynamics and Macroeconomic Fluctuations with Imperfect Substitution in Real Estate Markets

The collateral channel, whereby an increase in residential house prices leads to an increase in commercial property prices, loosening firm borrowing constraints and leading to higher firm investment, is weaker when residential and commercial real estate are imperfect substitutes. We first show in a reduced form regression with firm level data that the strength of local zoning regulations has a negative effect on the estimated increase in firm investment following an increase in local residential real estate prices. We then modify the DSGE model of the collateral channel in Liu, Wang, and Zha ...
Globalization Institute Working Papers , Paper 401

Report
The Effects of Leverage on Investments in Maintenance: Evidence from Apartments

This paper studies the sensitivity of investment in apartment building maintenance to building debt levels. I use a novel data set combining housing code violations from forty-five U.S. cities with apartment financing information to show that highly leveraged buildings tend to be less well maintained. I then exploit a natural experiment that effectively increases building leverage for some New York City rent-stabilized buildings, but not others. Following the shock, violations increase for affected buildings relative to unaffected buildings. This change in violations is concentrated among ...
Staff Reports , Paper 1000

Working Paper
Have Distressed Neighborhoods Recovered? Evidence from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program

During the 2007-2009 housing crisis, concentrations of foreclosed and vacant properties created severe blight in many cities and neighborhoods. The federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) was established to help mitigate distress in hard-hit areas by funding the rehabilitation or demolition of troubled properties. This paper analyzes housing market changes in areas that received investments during the second round of NSP funding, focusing on seven large urban counties. Grantees used NSP to invest in census tracts with high rates of distressed and vacancy properties, and tracts that ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-16

Working Paper
How Taxes and Required Returns Drove Commercial Real Estate Valuations over the Past Four Decades

We document the evolution of U.S. tax law regarding commercial real estate (CRE) since 1975, noting changes in income and capital gains tax rates and tax depreciation methods. The most prominent changes were the 1981 and 1986 Tax Acts, but numerous significant changes occurred in the last dozen years. We then compute the present value of tax depreciation per dollar of acquisition price and an effective tax rate for CRE. We explain the quarterly variation in CRE capitalization rates using an error correction framework and find that the long run estimates are statistically significant in the ...
Working Papers , Paper 1703

Working Paper
Commodity house prices

This paper studies how commodity price movements have affected local house prices in commodity-dependent economies, Australia and New Zealand. We build a geographically hierarchical empirical model and find that commodity prices influence local house prices directly and also indirectly through macroeconomic variables. While commodity price changes function more like ?income shocks? rather than ?cost shocks? in both Australia and New Zealand, regional heterogeneity is also observed in terms of differential dynamic responses of local house prices to energy versus non-energy commodity price ...
Globalization Institute Working Papers , Paper 154

Working Paper
Can Learning Explain Boom-Bust Cycles In Asset Prices? An Application to the US Housing Boom

Explaining asset price booms poses a difficult question for researchers in macroeconomics: how can large and persistent price growth be explained in the absence large and persistent variation in fundamentals? This paper argues that boom-bust behavior in asset prices can be explained by a model in which boundedly rational agents learn the process for prices. The key feature of the model is that learning operates in both the demand for assets and the supply of credit. Interactions between agents on either side of the market create complementarities in their respective beliefs, providing an ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1181

Report
Local banks, credit supply, and house prices

I study the effects of an increase in the supply of local mortgage credit on local house prices and employment by exploiting a natural experiment from Switzerland. In mid-2008, losses in U.S. security holdings triggered a migration of dissatisfied retail customers from a large, universal bank, UBS, to homogeneous local mortgage lenders. Mortgage lenders located close to UBS branches experienced larger inflows of deposits, regardless of their investment opportunities. Using variation in the geographic distance between UBS branches and local mortgage lenders as an instrument for deposit growth, ...
Staff Reports , Paper 874

Report
Financial frictions, real estate collateral, and small firm activity in Europe

We observe significant heterogeneity in the correlation between changes in house prices and the growth of small firms across certain countries in Europe. We find that, overall, the correlation is far greater in Southern Europe than in Northern Europe. Using a simple model, we show that this heterogeneity may relate to financial frictions in a country. We confirm the model?s propositions in a number of empirical analyses for the following countries in Northern and Southern Europe: the United Kingdom, Norway, France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Small firms in countries with higher financial ...
Staff Reports , Paper 868

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