Household leveraging and deleveraging
U.S. households' debt skyrocketed between 2000 and 2007, but has since been falling. This leveraging and deleveraging cycle cannot be accounted for by the liberalization and subsequent tightening of mortgage credit standards that occurred during the period. We base this conclusion on a quantitative dynamic general equilibrium model calibrated using macroeconomic aggregates and microeconomic data from the Survey of Consumer Finances. From the perspective of the model, the credit cycle is more likely due to factors that impacted house prices more directly, thus affecting the availability of ...
House Hunting in a Period of Social Distancing
Lower housing demand due to quarantine orders, slowing price growth and mortgage originations, and a historically high housing supply are all hitting the economy at the same time.
Gross Migration, Housing and Urban Population Dynamics
Cities experience significant, near random walk productivity shocks, yet population is slow to adjust. In practise local population changes are dominated by variation in net migration, and we argue that understanding gross migration is essential to quantify how net migration may slow population adjustments. Housing is also a natural candidate for slowing population adjustments because it is difficult to move, costly to build quickly, and a large durable stock makes a city attractive to potential migrants. We quantify the influence of migration and housing on urban population dynamics using a ...
Credit Score Doctors
We study how the existence of cutoffs in credit scores affects the behavior of homebuyers. Borrowers are more likely to purchase houses after their credit scores cross over a cutoff to qualify them for a higher credit score bin. However, the credit accounts of these individuals (crossover group) are more likely to become delinquent within four years following home purchases than the accounts of those who had stayed in the same bin (non-crossover group). The effect is not only concentrated in subprime bins, but in other bins as well. It is neither limited to pre-crisis period nor curtailed by ...
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 ...
How Effective are Macroprudential Policies? An Empirical Investigation
In recent years, policymakers have generally relied on macroprudential policies to address financial stability concerns. However, our understanding of these policies and their efficacy is limited. In this paper, we construct a novel index of domestic macroprudential policies in 57 advanced and emerging economies covering the period from 2000:Q1 to 2013:Q4, with tightenings and easings recorded separately. The effectiveness of these policies in curbing bank credit growth and house price inflation is then assessed using a dynamic panel data model. The main findings of the paper are: (1) ...
What Macroeconomic Conditions Lead Financial Crises?
Research has suggested that a rapid pace of nonfinancial borrowing reliably precedes financial crises, placing the pace of debt growth at the center of frameworks for the deployment of macroprudential policies. I reconsider the role of asset-prices and current account deficits as leading indicators of financial crises. Run-ups in equity and house prices and a widening of the current account deficit have substantially larger (and more statistically-significant) effects than debt growth on the probability of a financial crisis in standard crisis-prediction models. The analysis highlights the ...
Measuring Mortgage Credit Availability : A Frontier Estimation Approach
We construct a new measure of mortgage credit availability that describes the maximum amount obtainable by a borrower of given characteristics. We estimate this "loan frontier" using mortgage originations data from 2001 to 2014 and show that it reflects a binding borrowing constraint. Our estimates reveal that the expansion of mortgage credit during the housing boom was substantial for all borrowers, not only for low-score or low-income borrowers. The contraction was most pronounced for low-score borrowers. Using variation in the frontier across metropolitan areas over time, we show that ...
Is the Rent Too High? Aggregate Implications of Local Land-Use Regulation
Highly productive U.S. cities are characterized by high housing prices, low housing stock growth, and restrictive land-use regulations (e.g., San Francisco). While new residents would benefit from housing stock growth in cities with highly productive firms, existing residents justify strict local land-use regulations on the grounds of congestion and other costs of further development. This paper assesses the welfare implications of these local regulations for income, congestion, and urban sprawl within a general-equilibrium model with endogenous regulation. In the model, households choose ...
Do Mortgage Subsidies Help or Hurt Borrowers?
Mortgage subsidies affect homeownership costs by reducing effective mortgage rates and increasing house prices. I show analytically the role of mortgage subsidies in determining house price changes, economic incidence, and efficiency costs using a theoretical framework for applied welfare analysis. I derive simple expressions for these effects, as functions of reduced-form sufficient statistics, which I use to measure the effects from eliminating mortgage deductions. My main results characterize the distributional impact of mortgage subsidies among buyers and owners and how house price ...