Adjustable and fixed rate mortgages as a screening mechanism for default risk

L. L. Posey, A. Yavas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper studies how borrowers with different levels of default risk would self-select between fixed rate mortgages (FRMs) and adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs). We show that under asymmetric information, where the risk type of a borrower is private information to the borrower and not known by the lender, the unique equilibrium may be a separating equilibrium in which the high-risk (low-risk) borrowers choose ARMs (FRM's). Thus, the borrower's mortgage choice will serve as a signal of default risk, enabling lenders to screen high-risk and low-risk borrowers. It is possible for the separating equilibrium to yield positive economic profits for lenders in a competitive market. It is also possible to have a unique pooling equilibrium where all borrowers choose either FRMs or ARMs. The model implies that an increase in the proportion of high risks will increase the likelihood of a separating equilibrium where both mortgage types are offered. Also, a uniform downward shift in the expected change in the interest rate or an increase in borrowers' current or future incomes make ARMs more attractive for both types of borrowers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-79
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Urban Economics
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

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asymmetric information
Default risk
Mortgage rates
Screening
rate
screening
interest rate
profit
Adjustable rate mortgages
income
market
Separating equilibrium
economics
Income
Private information
Interest rates
Mortgage choice
Asymmetric information
Competitive market
Mortgages

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Urban Studies

Cite this

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Adjustable and fixed rate mortgages as a screening mechanism for default risk. / Posey, L. L.; Yavas, A.

In: Journal of Urban Economics, Vol. 49, No. 1, 01.01.2001, p. 54-79.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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