Credit Supply and Housing Speculation

Credit Supply and Housing Speculation

Credit supply expansion fuels housing speculation, generating a boom and bust in house prices. U.S. zip codes more exposed to the 2003 acceleration of the private label mortgage securitization (PLS) market witnessed a sudden and large increase in mortgage originations and house prices from 2003 to 2006, followed by a collapse in house prices from 2006 to 2010. During the boom, cities with higher PLS-market exposure were more likely to see a large increase in house prices despite substantial new construction; these cities experienced a severe bust after 2006. Most of the marginal home-buyers brought into the housing market by the acceleration of the PLS market were short-term buyers or “flippers.” These marginal buyers had lower credit scores and higher ex post default rates. Speculation by such home-buyers contributed to a large rise in transaction volume from 2003 to 2006, and helped trigger the mortgage default crisis in 2007.

Atif Mian and Amir Sufi


July 2018

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