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72 posts on "Household Finance"

July 18, 2016

Forecasting Interest Rates over the Long Run



LSE_Forecasting Interest Rates over the Long Run

In a previous post, we showed how market rates on U.S. Treasuries violate the expectations hypothesis because of time-varying risk premia. In this post, we provide evidence that term structure models have outperformed direct market-based measures in forecasting interest rates. This suggests that term structure models can play a role in long-run planning for public policy objectives such as assessing the viability of Social Security.

Continue reading "Forecasting Interest Rates over the Long Run" »

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Markets, Fiscal Policy, Household Finance | Permalink | Comments (1)

June 20, 2016

Risky Business: Government Mortgage Insurance Programs



Editors’ note: The column headings in the final table in this post have been corrected from an earlier version.

LSE_Risky Business: Government Mortgage Insurance Programs

Homeownership has long been a U.S. public policy goal. One of the many ways that the federal government subsidizes homeownership is through mortgage insurance programs operated by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the USDA’s Rural Housing Service (RHS). These programs facilitate home financing opportunities for first-time and low- and moderate-income homebuyers. Virtually all of these government-insured mortgages are securitized by Ginnie Mae, a government agency that guarantees the timely payment of principal and interest of these loans to investors that purchase the securities. That is, the U.S. taxpayers assume the credit risk on these mortgages. In this post, we assess the riskiness of these loans.

Continue reading "Risky Business: Government Mortgage Insurance Programs" »

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Institutions, Household Finance | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 06, 2016

Is Health Insurance Good for Your Financial Health?



LSE_Is Health Insurance Good for Your Financial Health?

What is the purpose of health care? What is the purpose of health insurance? When people fall ill, they seek health care in order to get better. But insurance has a slightly different function: Its main role is not to protect our health per se, but to protect our finances. For most people, lifetime health expenditures are quite low. However, some people have enormous health costs owing to major illnesses or health conditions. And this is where health insurance comes in—its goal (like that of any other form of insurance) is to protect these individuals against large, and sometimes ruinous, health expenditures. Has the recent health reform served this purpose?

Continue reading "Is Health Insurance Good for Your Financial Health?" »

Posted by Blog Author at 10:00 AM in Household Finance | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 24, 2016

Just Released: Hints of Increased Hardship in America’s Oil-Producing Counties



LSE_Just Released: Hints of Increased Hardship in America’s Oil-Producing Counties

Today, the New York Fed released the Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit for the first quarter of 2016. Overall debt saw one of its larger increases since deleveraging ended, while delinquency rates for the United States continued to improve and remain at very low levels. Although the overall picture of Americans’ liabilities has continued to improve since the financial crisis, we wondered what the variation looks like at local levels. One advantage of our Consumer Credit Panel (CCP), which is based on Equifax credit data, is that we can examine geographic variation in debt and delinquency rates. Here, we use the CCP to examine the borrowing and delinquency in oil-producing geographies in the United States, where the economic trends since the Great Recession have been very different from those in the rest of the country.

Continue reading "Just Released: Hints of Increased Hardship in America’s Oil-Producing Counties" »

Posted by Blog Author at 11:05 AM in Household Finance, Housing | Permalink | Comments (5)

May 11, 2016

Household Consumption Mobility over the Life-Cycle



Editors’ note: The y-axis labels on the charts in this post have been corrected to read “Share,” rather than “Percent.”

LSE_2016_consumption-mobility_dussault_460_art

Commonly used metrics of inequality and mobility attempt to capture how household (or individual) income compares to the rest of the population and how persistent that income is over the life cycle. It can be helpful to think of the income distribution as a ladder—each household is a rung, ranked by its level of income. If household income rankings remain constant over time, this could indicate a low level of mobility in a society. However, income only constitutes one aspect of overall well-being. Another crucial, and potentially more appropriate, dimension is consumption expenditures—how much do people spend on goods and services? In many ways, consumption can be thought of as a proxy for quality of life, since what a household buys says a lot about its access to the necessities of life. Therefore, the analysis of consumption expenditures mobility constitutes a crucial dimension of mobility.

Continue reading "Household Consumption Mobility over the Life-Cycle" »

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Household Finance | Permalink | Comments (1)

March 07, 2016

Banking Deserts, Branch Closings, and Soft Information



Editors’ Note: The original version of this post slightly overestimated the fraction of people of all types (low income, minority, etc.) who live in banking deserts. This version reports the correct figures. None of the substantive conclusions were affected. (Updated July 12, 2016)

LSE_2016_bank-deserts_morgan_460_art

U.S. banks have shuttered nearly 5,000 branches since the financial crisis, raising concerns that more low-income and minority neighborhoods may be devolving into “banking deserts” with inadequate, or no, mainstream financial services. We investigate this issue and also ask whether such neighborhoods are particularly exposed to branch closings—a development that, according to recent research, could reduce credit access, even with other branches present, by destroying “soft” information about borrowers that influences lenders’ credit decisions. Our findings are mixed, suggesting that further study of these concerns is warranted.

Continue reading "Banking Deserts, Branch Closings, and Soft Information " »

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Institutions, Household Finance | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 25, 2016

Just Released: Five New Data Series on Consumer Expectations



LSE_2016_JR_consumer-expectation_klaaw_460_art

Today, the New York Fed is introducing a number of new data series and interactive charts reporting findings from its Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE). Since January 2014, we have been reporting findings from this monthly survey on U.S. households’ views on inflation, commodity prices, the labor market and household finances. In addition to interactive charts showing national trends (going back to June 2013), as well as trends by demographic groups (age, income, education, numeracy and geography), we also make the underlying micro data (with a nine-month lag) available for download for research purposes.

Continue reading "Just Released: Five New Data Series on Consumer Expectations " »

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Household Finance | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 24, 2016

The Graying of American Debt



LSE_graying-debt_brown_460_art

The U.S. population is aging and so are its debts. In this post, we use the New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel, which is based on Equifax credit data, to look at how debt is changing as baby boomers reach retirement age and millennials find their footing. We find that aggregate debt balances held by younger borrowers have declined modestly from 2003 to 2015, with a debt portfolio reallocation away from credit card, auto, and mortgage debt, toward student debt. Debt held by borrowers between the ages of 50 and 80, however, increased by roughly 60 percent over the same time period. This shifting of debt from younger to older borrowers is of obvious relevance to markets fueled by consumer credit. It is also relevant from a loan performance perspective as consumer debt payments are being made by older debtors than ever before.

Continue reading "The Graying of American Debt" »

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Household Finance, Housing | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 22, 2016

Whither Mortgages?



LSE_2016_whither-mortgages_haughwout_460_art

Our most recent Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit showed that although total household debt has increased somewhat since 2012, that growth has been driven almost entirely by nonhousing debt—credit cards, auto loans and student loans. The largest category of household debt—mortgages—has been essentially flat since 2012, in spite of a substantial rise in housing prices over that period. In this post, we explore the sources of the sluggish growth in mortgage debt using our New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel, which is based on Equifax credit data.

Continue reading "Whither Mortgages?" »

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Household Finance, Housing | Permalink | Comments (2)

February 12, 2016

Just Released: Household Debt Grew Slowly in 2015 as Mortgage Balances Stayed Flat



LSE_2015_hhdc_460_art

This morning, New York Fed President William Dudley spoke to the press about the growing resilience of the U.S. household sector. His speech was followed by a briefing by New York Fed economists on developments in household borrowing. Their presentation included a detailed decomposition on mortgage borrowing and payment trends, and some new research on how borrowing has evolved differently across age groups. Today, the New York Fed also released the Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit for the fourth quarter of 2015. The report, the press briefing , and the following analysis are all based on the New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel, which is itself based on consumer credit data from Equifax.

Continue reading "Just Released: Household Debt Grew Slowly in 2015 as Mortgage Balances Stayed Flat" »

Posted by Blog Author at 10:05 AM in Household Finance, Housing | Permalink | Comments (1)
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