How the Federal Reserve's Large-Scale Asset Purchases (LSAPs) Influence Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) Yields and U.S. Mortgage Rates
We conduct an empirical analysis of the Federal Reserve's large-scale asset purchases (LSAPs) on MBS yields and mortgage rates. The Federal Reserve's accumulation of MBS and Treasury securities lowered MBS yields and mortgage rates by more than what would have been suggested by changes in market expectations alone, suggesting that portfolio rebalancing effects of LSAPs are an important consideration for monetary policy transmission. Our estimates also suggest that the Federal Reserve must hold a substantial market share of agency MBS or of Treasury securities to significantly lower MBS yields ...
The Community Reinvestment Act and the Profitability of Mortgage-Oriented Banks
The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requires lenders ``to help meet the credit needs of the local communities in which they are chartered, consistent with the safe and sound operation of such institutions.'' For proponents of efficient markets, the CRA is a threat to lender profitability. For others, the CRA has the potential to increase profitability. We examine the relative profitability of commercial banks that specialize in mortgage lending in lower-income neighborhoods or to lower-income borrowers using three different techniques, and find that lenders active in lower-income ...
Which Way to Recovery? Housing Market Outcomes and the Neighborhood Stabilization Program
To help communities recover from the foreclosure crisis, Congress enacted a set of policies known as the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). NSP's objective was to mitigate the impact of foreclosures on neighboring properties, through reducing the stock of distressed properties and removing sources of visual blight. This paper presents evidence on production outcomes achieved through the second round of NSP funding (NSP2), and discusses the housing market context under which the program operated from 2010 to 2013. Two key findings emerge. First, local grantees undertook quite different ...
Negative equity in the Sixth Federal Reserve District
Using Zillow's zip code level Negative Equity Report for the second quarter of 2014 and 2015, I map, describe, and analyze the characteristics of neighborhoods that have persistent negative equity in the Sixth Federal Reserve District, comprised of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, and parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Persistent negative equity, when a house is worth less than outstanding mortgage debt, is high in the Sixth District and concentrated in urban areas. In a series of regressions, I evaluate the correlation of income, commute times, unemployment, housing stock quality, ...
Villains or Scapegoats? The Role of Subprime Borrowers in Driving the U.S. Housing Boom
An expansion in mortgage credit to subprime borrowers is widely believed to have been a principal driver of the 2002?06 U.S. house price boom. Contrary to this belief, we show that the house price and subprime booms occurred in different places. Counties with the largest home price appreciation between 2002 and 2006 had the largest declines in the share of purchase mortgages to subprime borrowers. We also document that the expansion in speculative mortgage products and underwriting fraud was not concentrated among subprime borrowers.
Unconventional Monetary Policy and Risk-Taking: Evidence from Agency Mortgage REITs
We study how the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing (QE) influenced the behavior of Agency mortgage real estate investment trusts (REITs)?a set of institutions identified by the Financial Stability Oversight Council as posing systemic risk. We document that Agency mortgage REITs: [i] equity prices reacted to QE announcements and in a manner consistent with their business prospects; [ii] grew markedly during QE2 and receded during QE3 in relation to the Federal Reserve's Agency MBS purchase activity; and [iii] increased their leverage during QE3. Our findings are consistent with ...
Agency Conflicts in Residential Mortgage Securitization: What Does the Empirical Literature Tell Us?
The agency conflicts inherent in securitization are viewed by many as having been a key contributor to the recent financial crisis, despite the presence of various legal and economic constructs to mitigate them. A review of recent empirical research for the U.S. home mortgage market suggests that securitization itself may not have been a problem, but rather the origination and distribution of observably riskier loans. Low-documentation mortgages, for which asymmetric information problems are acute, performed especially poorly during the crisis. Securitized low-documentation mortgages ...
The Role of Race in Mortgage Lending: Revisiting the Boston Fed Study
This paper reexamines claims that non-economic discrimination persists in mortgage loan origination decisions. I find that racial differences in outcomes do exist, as minorities fare worse regarding debt-to-income requirements but better for loan-to-value requirements. Overall, significant racial differentials exist only for "marginal" applicants and are not present for those with higher incomes or those with no credit problems. Thus, the claim that non-economic discrimination is a general phenomenon is refuted. Further, I can say little regarding the existence of discrimination among ...
The rising gap between primary and secondary mortgage rates
While mortgage rates reached historic lows during 2012, the spread between primary and secondary rates rose to very high levels. This trend reflected a number of factors that potentially affected mortgage originator costs and profits and restrained the pass-through from lower secondary rates to borrowers? funding costs. This article describes the mortgage origination and securitization process and the way in which originator profits are determined. The authors calculate a series of originator profits and unmeasured costs (OPUCs) for the period 1994 to 2012, and show that these OPUCs increased ...
Introduction to Special Issue: The Appropriate Role of Government in U.S. Mortgage Markets
The U.S. mortgage finance system was one of the focal points of the 2007-08 financial crisis, yet legislative decisions about the appropriate role of the federal government in the system remain unsettled. Policy deliberations have focused on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?the two enormous government-sponsored enterprises that were placed into federal conservatorship in September 2008. The two GSEs have long been the centerpieces of a mortgage finance system that relies on capital market financing of U.S. residential mortgages. This volume contains eight articles that touch on several key ...