NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
loading...

Mortgage Design in an Equilibrium Model of the Housing Market

Adam M. Guren, Arvind Krishnamurthy, Timothy J. McQuade

NBER Working Paper No. 24446
Issued in March 2018, Revised in December 2019
NBER Program(s):Asset Pricing, Corporate Finance, Economic Fluctuations and Growth, Monetary Economics

How can mortgages be redesigned to reduce housing market volatility, consumption volatility, and default? How does mortgage design interact with monetary policy? We answer these questions using a quantitative equilibrium life cycle model with aggregate shocks, long-term mortgages, and an equilibrium housing market, focusing on designs that index payments to monetary policy. Designs that raise mortgage payments in booms and lower them in recessions do better than designs with fixed mortgage payments. The benefits are quantitatively substantial: In a simulated crisis under a monetary regime in which the central bank lowers real interest rates in a bust, house prices fall 2.24 percentage points less, 23 percent fewer households default, and consumption falls by 0.79 percentage points less with ARMs relative to FRMs. Among designs that reduce payments in a bust, we show that those that front-load the payment reductions and concentrate them in recessions outperform designs that spread payment reductions over the life of the mortgage. Front-loading alleviates household liquidity constraints in states where they are most binding, reducing default and stimulating housing demand by new homeowners. To isolate this channel, we compare an FRM with a built-in option to be converted to an ARM with an FRM with an option to be refinanced at the prevailing FRM rate. Under these two contracts, the present value of a lender's loan falls by roughly an equal amount, but the FRM that can be converted to an ARM, which front loads payment reductions, reduces the declines in prices and consumption six times as much, and reduces default three times as much.

download in pdf format
   (735 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24446

 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us