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 ...
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, ...
Debt Relief and the CARES Act: Which Borrowers Face the Most Financial Strain?
In yesterday's post, we studied the expected debt relief from the CARES Act on mortgagors and student debt borrowers. We now turn our attention to the 63 percent of American borrowers who do not have a mortgage or student loan. These borrowers will not directly benefit from the loan forbearance provisions of the CARES Act, although they may be able to receive some types of leniency that many lenders have voluntarily provided. We ask who these borrowers are, by age, geography, race and income, and how does their financial health compare with other borrowers.
Why are Adjustable Rate Mortgages So Rare These Days?
The fraction of mortgage borrowers who choose an adjustable-rate loan has fallen significantly over the past five years or so. Although the fraction edged up slightly in 2010, it remains close to historic lows, with less than 10 percent of mortgage originations since 2009 featuring an adjustable interest rate. What explains the striking decline? And what are its implications for borrowers and policymakers?
Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on New England Homeowners and Renters
Job losses and likely layoffs related to the COVID-19 pandemic will put many New England residents at risk of not being able to pay their mortgage or rent and needing financial assistance and state-government safeguards to remain in their homes. Economic interventions from Congress, primarily through the federal CARES Act, include direct payments to households and increased unemployment insurance benefits that are expected to provide vital support to many of these households for the next three to four months. Even with these efforts, 2 to 3 percent of New England homeowners and9 to 13 ...
Credit risk transfer and de facto GSE reform
We summarize and evaluate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?s credit risk transfer (CRT) programs, which have been used since 2013 to shift a portion of credit risk on more than $1.8 trillion of mortgages to private sector investors. We argue that the CRT programs have been successful in reducing the exposure of the federal government to mortgage credit risk without disrupting the liquidity or stability of mortgage secondary markets. In the process, the programs have created a new financial market for pricing and trading mortgage credit risk, which has grown in size and liquidity over time. The CRT ...
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 the Danish covered bond market bears a number of similarities to U.S. agency securitization. In this paper we describe the key features of the Danish mortgage finance system and compare and contrast it to the U.S. system. We also note 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 home prices, and ...
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 ...
Landing a Jumbo Is Getting Easier
The United States relies heavily on securitization for funding residential mortgages. But for institutional reasons, large mortgages, or ?jumbos,? are more difficult to securitize, and are instead usually held as whole loans by banks. How does this structure affect the pricing and availability of jumbo mortgages? In this post we show that the supply of jumbo mortgages has improved in recent years as banks have become more willing to take on mortgage credit risk on their own balance sheets.
How Is Technology Changing the Mortgage Market?
The adoption of new technologies is transforming the mortgage industry. For instance, borrowers can now obtain a mortgage entirely online, and lenders use increasingly sophisticated methods to verify borrower income and assets. In a recent staff report, we present evidence suggesting that technology is reducing frictions in mortgage lending, such as reducing the time it takes to originate a mortgage, and increasing the elasticity of mortgage supply. These benefits do not seem to come at the cost of less careful screening of borrowers.