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Understanding mortgage spreads
Most mortgages in the U.S. are securitized in agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS). Yield spreads on these securities are thus a key determinant of homeowners? funding costs. We study variation in MBS spreads over time and across securities, and document a cross-sectional smile pattern in MBS spreads with respect to the securities? coupon rates. We propose non-interest-rate prepayment risk as a candidate driver of MBS spread variation and present a new pricing model that uses ?stripped? MBS prices to identify the contribution of this prepayment risk to the spread. The pricing model finds ...
This paper reviews the mortgage-backed securities (MBS) market, with a particular emphasis on agency residential MBS in the United States. We discuss the institutional environment, security design, MBS risks and asset pricing, and the economic effects of mortgage securitization. We also assemble descriptive statistics about market size, growth, security characteristics, prepayment, and trading activity. Throughout, we highlight insights from the expanding body of academic research on the MBS market and mortgage securitization.