Aggregate and Distributional Impacts of LTV Policy: Evidence from China's Micro Data
Using three unique micro datasets, we find that an unexpected and unprecedented loosening of China's LTV policy for non-primary houses fueled the entire mortgage boom during 2014Q4-2016Q3. The mortgage expansion disproportionately increased the share of mortgages to middle-aged homeowners with high education, while their consumption growth declined persistently. To interpret these empirical findings, we develop a quantitative model and identify that homeowners' trade-up of their primary homes as speculative housing investment is a key channel for a change in LTV policy to exert aggregate and distributional impacts on mortgage markets. Our cross-city evidence provides empirical support for this channel.