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Contagion effects in strategic mortgage defaults

Ryan Goodstein, Paul Hanouna, Carlos Ramirez () and Christof W. Stahel

Journal of Financial Intermediation, 2017, vol. 30, issue C, 50-60

Abstract: Using a large sample of U.S. mortgages observed over the 2005–2009 period, we document contagion effects in strategic mortgage defaults. Strategic defaults result from borrowers choosing to exercise their in the money default option and our findings suggest this choice is influenced by the delinquency rate in surrounding zip codes (within a 5 mile radius), after controlling for other known determinants of mortgage default. These controls include a large array of borrower and loan characteristics, local demographic and economic conditions, spatial correlations, and changes in property values. Our findings that the local area delinquency rate is an important factor for strategic defaulters (borrowers that can be influenced in their decision) but not for defaults that are the result of inability to pay (borrowers that had no choice) lend support the contagion hypothesis. Our estimates suggest that a 1% increase in the local area delinquency rate may increase the probability of a strategic default by 7.25–16.5%.

Keywords: Mortgage foreclosure; contagion; strategic default (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinin:v:30:y:2017:i:c:p:50-60