Vol. XXXVII No. 2

Symposium Issue: Has the Mortgage Pendulum Swung Too Far? Reviving Access to Mortgage Credit

Symposium Articles


Abstract: In the wake of the financial crisis, mortgage lending to lower-income and minority borrowers overcorrected and has not recovered. Although homeownership is a riskier investment than previously realized, still it remains a proven path to increased wealth on balance for lower-income households. There are a number of reasonable reforms that could achieve greater access […]

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Quantifying the Tightness of Mortgage Credit and Assessing Policy Actions

Abstract: This Article quantifies the dramatic tightening of mortgage credit that has occurred in the post-crisis period. It then describes the policy actions to loosen the credit box taken to date by both the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) and their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), as well as those taken by the Federal […]

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Waiting for Homeownership: Assessing the Future of Homeownership, 2015–2035

Abstract: The decade-long decline in the homeownership rate in the United States has generated substantial discussion over its future path. In the face of continued uncertainty, this Article seeks to assess what we know and do not know about the sources of the decline and the likely trajectory of the homeownership rate in coming years. […]

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Discussion of Papers on Cyclicality in Mortgage Markets

Abstract: The mortgage market can be portrayed as a complicated machine that processes information and disinformation to help lenders and would-be homeowners to fashion an enforceable and fair set of mutual obligations. The papers in this symposium issue focus on ameliorating cyclical speed-ups and slowdowns in the lender-operated parts of this machine. My discussion focuses […]

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Mortgage Supply Chain Failure and Innovation

Abstract: The standard mortgage supply chain is so costly and inefficient that large national banks have dramatically scaled back their provision of mortgages to low- and moderate-income households. Absent regulatory requirements, subsidy, improvement in the way the mortgage supply chain works, or maybe all three, low- and moderate-income households will continue to be underserved by […]

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Expanding the Mortgage Credit Box: Lessons from the Community Advantage Program

Abstract: The Great Recession has raised concerns about the promotion of homeownership to low- and moderate-income families. The subprime credit boom of the early 2000s was replaced with an overall credit retrenchment. The reforms to the housing finance system, begun with the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, remain incomplete […]

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ONE Mortgage: A Model of Success for Low-Income Homeownership

Abstract: A 1989 report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston identified major racial disparities in mortgage lending in the City of Boston that could not be explained by income, credit scores, or other objective underwriting factors. In response, city and state officials, community organizations, and major banking institutions joined together in 1990 to design […]

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Why Cyclicality Matters to Access to Mortgage Credit

Abstract: Virtually no attention has been paid to the problem of cyclicality in debates over access to mortgage credit, despite its importance as a driver of tight credit. Housing markets are prone to booms accompanied by bubbles in mortgage credit in which lenders cut underwriting standards, leading to elevated loan defaults. During downturns, these cycles […]

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The Housing Market Cannot Fully Recover Without a Robust Rental Policy

Abstract: There is no one explanation for why access to mortgage credit remains so tight this far into the housing recovery, nor is there a consensus on why our national homeownership rate has fallen to a fifty-year low, but one thing is clear: the homeownership and rental markets are two sides of the same coin. […]

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