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5 posts on "housing market"
May 6, 2024

Mortgage Rate Lock‑In and Homeowners’ Moving Plans

Photo: man unloading boxes from a moving truck

The U.S. housing market has had a tumultuous few years. After falling to record lows during the pandemic, the average 30-year mortgage rate rapidly increased in 2022 and 2023 and now hovers near a two-decade high of 7.2 percent. For those that locked in a low mortgage rate prior to 2022, this steep increase has significantly increased the cost of moving, as taking out a mortgage at current rates would potentially increase their monthly housing payment by hundreds or thousands of dollars, even if the amount they borrowed remained unchanged. As shown by Ferreira et al. (2011), this lock-in effect has the potential to reduce geographic mobility and turnover in the housing market and has gained the attention of Federal Reserve leaders. In this post, we utilize special questions from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s 2023 and 2024 SCE Housing Surveys to estimate the extent to which mortgage rate lock-in is suppressing U.S. household’s moving plans.

Posted at 11:00 am in Household Finance, Housing | Permalink | Comments (0)
May 12, 2022

First‑Time Buyers Were Undeterred by Rapid Home Price Appreciation in 2021

Photo: young ethnic family looking at a home with house of sale sign and sold over it.

Tight inventories of homes for sale combined with strong demand pushed up national house prices by an eye-popping 19 percent, year over year, in January 2022. This surge in house prices created concerns that first-time buyers would increasingly be priced out of owning a home. However, using our Consumer Credit Panel, which is based on anonymized Equifax credit report data, we find that the share of purchase mortgages going to first-time buyers actually increased slightly from 2020 to 2021.

September 8, 2021

If Prices Fall, Mortgage Foreclosures Will Rise

In our previous post, we illustrated the recent extraordinarily strong growth in home prices and explored some of its key spatial patterns. Such price increases remind many of the first decade of the 2000s when home prices reversed, contributing to a broad housing market collapse that led to a wave of foreclosures, a financial crisis, and a prolonged recession. This post explores the risk that such an event could recur if home prices go into reverse now. We find that although the situation looks superficially similar to the brink of the last crisis, there are important differences that are likely to mitigate the risks emanating from the housing sector.

Does the Rise in Housing Prices Suggest a Housing Bubble?

House prices have risen rapidly during the pandemic, increasing even faster than the pace set before the 2007 financial crisis and subsequent recession. Is there a risk that another dangerous housing bubble is developing? This is a complicated question, and the answer has many components. This post, the first of two, provides a more detailed look at the recent rise in home prices by breaking it down geographically, with a comparison to the pre-2007 bubble. The second post looks at the potential risks to financial stability by comparing the currently outstanding stock of mortgage debt to the period before the financial crisis and projecting defaults should prices decline.

Posted at 7:00 am in Credit, Housing, Inflation | Permalink
May 19, 2021

Keeping Borrowers Current in a Pandemic

Federal government actions in response to the pandemic have taken many forms. One set of policies is intended to reduce the risk that the pandemic will result in a housing market crash and a wave of foreclosures like the one that accompanied the Great Financial Crisis. An important and novel tool employed as part of these policies is mortgage forbearance, which provides borrowers the option to pause or reduce debt service payments during periods of hardship, without marking the loan delinquent on the borrower’s credit report. Widespread take-up of forbearance over the past year has significantly changed the housing finance system in the United States, in different ways for different borrowers. This post is the first of four focusing attention on the effects of mortgage forbearance and the outlook for the mortgage market. Here we use data from the New York Fed’s Consumer Credit Panel (CCP) to examine the effects of these changes on households during the pandemic.

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