The Sustainability of First-Time Homeownership
In this post we take up the important question of the sustainability of homeownership for first-time buyers. The evaluation of public policies aimed at promoting the transition of individuals from renting to owning should depend not only on the degree to which such policies increase the number of first-time buyers, but also importantly on whether these new buyers are able to sustain their homeownership. If a buyer is unprepared to manage the financial responsibilities of owning a home and consequently must return to renting, then the household may have made little to no progress in wealth ...
Diplomas to Doorsteps: Education, Student Debt, and Homeownership
Evidence overwhelmingly shows that the average earnings premium to having a college education is high and has risen over the past several decades, in part because of a decline in real average earnings for those without a college degree. In addition to high private returns, there are substantial social returns to having a well-educated citizenry and workforce. A new development that may have important longer-term implications for education investment and for the broader economy is a significant change in the financing of higher education. State funding has declined markedly over the past two ...
Credit risk transfer and de facto GSE reform
The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac credit risk transfer (CRT) programs, now in their fifth year, shift a portion of credit risk on more than $1.8 trillion of mortgages to private-sector investors. This study summarizes and evaluates the CRT programs, finding that they have been successful in reducing the exposure of the government-sponsored enterprises and the federal government to mortgage credit risk without disrupting the liquidity or stability of mortgage secondary markets. The programs have also created a new financial market for pricing and trading mortgage credit risk, which has grown in ...
GSE guarantees, financial stability, and home equity accumulation
Before 2008, the government?s ?implicit guarantee? of the securities issued by the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac led to practices by these institutions that threatened financial stability. In 2008, the Federal Housing Finance Agency placed these GSEs into conservatorship. Conservatorship was intended to be temporary but has now reached its tenth year, and policymakers continue to weigh options for reform. In this article, the authors assess both implicit and explicit government guarantees for the GSEs. They argue that adopting a legislatively defined ...
Are Financially Distressed Areas More Affected by COVID-19?
Building upon our earlier Liberty Street Economics post, we continue to analyze the heterogeneity of COVID-19 incidence. We previously found that majority-minority areas, low-income areas, and areas with higher population density were more affected by COVID-19. The objective of this post is to understand any differences in COVID-19 incidence by areas of financial vulnerability. Are areas that are more financially distressed affected by COVID-19 to a greater extent than other areas? If so, this would not only further adversely affect the financial well-being of the individuals in these areas, ...
The When, What and Where of Consumer Debt: The View from Cook County
Consumer debt grew rapidly in the years leading up to the Great Recession, and contracted sharply in its immediate aftermath. This credit cycle played out unevenly among households with different financial means and in different parts of the country. While much attention has been paid to mortgages, other debt categories, such as automobile and student, play an important role in household finances. Consequently, we analyze trends in both mortgage and non-mortgage debt across income groups during the period surrounding the Great Recession.
Introduction to Heterogeneity Series III: Credit Market Outcomes
Average economic outcomes serve as important indicators of the overall state of the economy. However, they mask a lot of underlying variability in how people experience the economy across geography, or by race, income, age, or other attributes. Following our series on heterogeneity broadly in October 2019 and in labor market outcomes in March 2020, we now turn our focus to further documenting heterogeneity in the credit market. While we have written about credit market heterogeneity before, this series integrates insights on disparities in outcomes in various parts of the credit market. The ...
How COVID-19 Affected First-Time Homebuyers
Efforts in the spring of 2020 to contain the spread of COVID-19 resulted in a sharp contraction in U.S. economic growth and an unprecedented, rapid rise in unemployment. While the first wave of the pandemic slowed the spring housing market, home sales rebounded sharply over the rest of the year, with strong gains in house prices. Given the rising house prices and continuing high unemployment, concerns arose that COVID-19 may have negatively affected first-time homebuyers. Using a new and more accurate measure of first-time homebuyers, we find that these buyers have not been adversely affected ...
Peas in a pod? Comparing the U.S. and Danish mortgage finance systems
Like the United States, Denmark relies heavily on capital markets for funding residential mortgages, and its covered bond market bears a number of similarities to U.S. agency securitization. This article describes the key features of the Danish mortgage finance system and compares and contrasts them with those of the U.S. system. In addition, it highlights characteristics of the Danish model that may be of interest as the United States considers further mortgage finance reform. In particular, the Danish system includes features that mitigate refinancing frictions during periods of falling ...
Analyzing the Effects of CFPB Oversight
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), created in 2011, is a key element of post-crisis U.S. financial regulation, as well as the subject of intense debate. While some have praised the agency, citing the benefits of consumer financial protection, others argue that its activities involve high compliance costs, increase uncertainty and legal risk, and ultimately reduce the availability of financial services for consumers. We present new evidence on whether the CFPB?s supervisory and enforcement activities have significantly affected the supply of mortgage credit, or had other effects ...