NBER Publications by Benjamin J. Keys

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Working Papers and Chapters

August 2014Failure to Refinance
with Devin G. Pope, Jaren C. Pope: w20401
Households that fail to refinance their mortgage when interest rates decline can lose out on substantial savings. Based on a large random sample of outstanding U.S. mortgages in December of 2010, we estimate that approximately 20% of households for whom refinancing would be optimal and who appeared unconstrained to do so, had not taken advantage of the lower rates. We estimate the present-discounted cost to the median household who fails to refinance to be approximately $11,500, making this a particularly large consumer financial mistake. To shed light on possible mechanisms and corroborate our main findings, we also provide results from a mail campaign targeted at a sample of homeowners that could benefit from refinancing.
August 2012Mortgage Financing in the Housing Boom and Bust
with Tomasz Piskorski, Amit Seru, Vikrant Vig
in Housing and the Financial Crisis, Edward L. Glaeser and Todd Sinai, editors
This chapter traces the rapid evolution of mortgage financing from boom to bust and explores two crucial questions surrounding the market's rise and fall. First, why did the lending boom occur in the size and form that it did? Second, why has the foreclosure crisis been both cataclysmic and heterogeneous across geography and loan types? The chapter is organized as follows. Section 4.2 presents a broad set of descriptive statistics and facts regarding the rise and fall of the subprime mortgage market. Section 4.3 addresses the question of why there was a lending boom of this sort. Section 4.4 discusses the “prolonged” foreclosure crisis that prompted a number of policy responses by the government. The chapter concludes with a broad perspective on the future of mortgage finance and lessons l...

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