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Drivers of mortgage choices by risky borrowers

Frederick Furlong, David Lang and Yelena Takhtamanova

FRBSF Economic Letter, 2014

Abstract: During the past decade?s housing boom, borrowers with lower credit ratings were more likely than higher-rated borrowers to choose adjustable-rate mortgages. This raises the question of whether, amid rapidly rising house prices, lower-rated borrowers paid less attention to loan pricing and interest-rate-related factors. However, even accounting for house price appreciation, research shows these borrowers were as, if not more, responsive as higher-rated borrowers to changes in interest-rate-related fundamentals. Their tendency to choose adjustable-rate mortgages is consistent with mortgage decisions based on economic considerations, rather than just lack of financial sophistication

Date: 2014
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