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Mortgage Timing

Ralph Koijen, Otto Van Hemert and Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh

No 13361, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: The fraction of newly-originated mortgages that are of the adjustable-rate (ARM) versus the fixed-rate (FRM) type exhibits a surprising amount of time variation. A simple utility framework of mortgage choice points to the bond risk premium as theoretical determinant: when the bond risk premium is high, FRM payments are high, making ARMs more attractive. We confirm empirically that the bulk of the time variation in household mortgage choice can be explained by time variation in the bond risk premium. This is true regardless of whether bond risk premia are measured using forecasters' data, a VAR term structure model, or a simple rule-of-thumb based on adaptive expectations. This simple rule-of-thumb moves in lock-step with mortgage choice, thereby lending further credibility to a theory of strategic mortgage timing by households.

JEL-codes: D14 E43 G11 G12 R2 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2007-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mac and nep-ure
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Published as Koijen, Ralph S.J. & Hemert, Otto Van & Nieuwerburgh, Stijn Van, 2009. "Mortgage timing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 292-324, August.

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