Finance and Economics Discussion Series: 2008-01 Screen Reader version ^{♣}

Shane M. Sherlund
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System Washington, DC 20551 (202) 452-3589 Shane.M.Sherlund@frb.gov |
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All comments are welcome.

Keywords: Mortgages, jumbo-conforming spread, partial-linear regression, local-linear regression.

Abstract:

This paper estimates the jumbo-conforming spread using data from the Federal Housing Finance Board's Monthly Interest Rate Survey from January 1993 to June 2007. Importantly, this paper augments the typical parametric approach by adding state-level foreclosure laws and ZIP-level demographic variables to the model, estimating the effects of loan size and loan-to-value ratio on mortgage rates nonparametrically, and including geographic location as a control for some potentially unobserved borrower and market characteristics that might vary over geography, such as credit scores, debt-to-income ratios, and house price volatility. A partial local-linear regression approach is used to estimate the jumbo-conforming spread, on the premise that loans similar to each other in terms of loan size, loan-to-value ratio, or geographic location might also be similar in other, unobservable borrower and market characteristics. I find estimates of the jumbo-conforming spread of 13 to 24 basis points--50 to 24 percent smaller since about 1996, when credit scores became widely used in mortgage underwriting, than estimates from a commonly used parametric model. I therefore attribute the difference in estimates to credit quality and other unobserved characteristics, among other potential explanations, making these controls an important issue in estimating the jumbo-conforming spread.

*Journal of Economic Literature* classification numbers: G21, G28.

1 Introduction

The housing government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, were created by Congress to facilitate the flow of capital to lenders for making mortgage loans. The GSEs, as well as private-label issuers, purchase mortgages from lenders and package them together as mortgage-backed securities (MBS). The resulting securities can then be sold to investors. This process, known as securitization (or MBS issuance), frees lenders' capital, thereby making it possible for lenders to extend more mortgage loans.

The effect of GSE activities on mortgage rates, in particular, has prompted considerable previous work. Some research argues that the GSEs serve to reduce interest rates on so-called conforming mortgages--those that the housing GSEs are eligible to purchase--by facilitating securitization of these mortgages relative to so-called jumbo mortgages--those that exceed the conforming loan limit and which the GSEs are ineligible to purchase. Other research argues that the jumbo-conforming spread provides only an upper bound on the effect of the GSEs on mortgage rates.

As shown in Figure 1, average mortgage rates on jumbo originations have generally exceeded average mortgage rates on conforming originations over the 1993 to 2007 period. The figure also shows the dispersion of mortgage rates across loans at any given point in time, as shown by the range between the 10th and 90th percentiles for rates on conforming mortgages. The wide range of mortgage rates presumably reflects the effects of a variety of other factors on mortgage pricing, such as credit quality.

Figure 2 shows a kernel density estimate and Figure 3 shows the empirical cumulative distribution function for thirty-year fixed-rate mortgage loan sizes originated during 2006. Over 95 percent of these 30-year fixed-rate mortgage originations had
loan sizes at or below the conforming loan limit, most with loan sizes between $100,000 and $200,000. In addition, the spike of loans at the conforming loan limit, and the relative dearth of loans just above the loan limit, suggest that at least some borrowers perceive a difference in rates on
jumbo and conforming mortgages, and therefore select lower-cost conforming mortgages. Some observers have argued that these empirical facts suggest that GSE securitization activity may reduce mortgage rates on conforming mortgages.^{2}

Various studies have provided estimates of the spread between jumbo and conforming mortgages ([Hendershott and ShillingHendershott and Shilling1989], [Cotterman and PearceCotterman and Pearce1996], [Ambrose, Buttimer, and ThibodeauAmbrose et al.2001], [Naranjo and ToevsNaranjo and Toevs2002], [Passmore, Sparks, and IngpenPassmore et al.2002], [U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO)U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO)2001], [Ambrose, LaCour-Little, and SandersAmbrose et al.2004], and [Passmore, Sherlund, and BurgessPassmore et al.2005] to name a few; [McKenzieMcKenzie2002] provides a summary). These studies report estimates of the jumbo-conforming spread (which varies widely across sample periods) as low as a few basis points to as much as 60 basis points. Many of these studies use the Federal Housing Finance Board's Monthly Interest Rate Survey (MIRS), which contains information on the contract mortgage rate, the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio at origination, the type and term of the mortgage, the loan amount, etc. A key deficiency of the MIRS data, however, is its exclusion of measures of creditworthiness (beyond LTV), income, and expected house price volatility--critical variables in understanding mortgage underwriting.

[Ambrose, LaCour-Little, and SandersAmbrose et al.2004] use a unique data set from a large national lender that provides better measures of borrower credit quality and can differentiate directly between conforming and nonconforming mortgages.^{3} After controlling for borrower characteristics and house price volatility, the authors report an estimated jumbo-conforming spread of about 27 basis points from 1995
to 1997. Moreover, about 9 basis points of the jumbo-conforming spread estimate is attributed to the nonconforming-conforming spread (possibly due to GSE activities), 15 basis points to the jumbo-nonconforming spread (not due to GSE activities), and 3 basis points to house price volatility.

[Passmore, Sherlund, and BurgessPassmore et al.2005] show that the jumbo-conforming spread can vary due to factors outside the GSEs' control, such as prepayment and credit risks. In particular, they relate the GSE funding advantage, as well as proxies for prepayment, credit, and maturity-mismatch risks, to estimates of the jumbo-conforming spread. Based on data for 1997-2003, their results suggest that approximately 16 percent of the GSEs' funding advantage is passed through to homebuyers in the form of lower mortgage rates, implying that as much as 84 percent of the funding advantage is retained by GSE shareholders in the form of profits. Further, the average pass through to homebuyers accounts for about 40 percent of the average jumbo-conforming spread, or 6 to 7 basis points, suggesting that the jumbo-conforming spread also arises because of factors outside the GSEs' control.

This paper explores a new, comparatively flexible method of estimating the jumbo-conforming spread. I particular, I show how to estimate the jumbo-conforming spread while using geographic information to control for some of the variation in unobserved borrower and market characteristics, such as credit quality, debt-to-income ratios, and house price volatility. It uses a semiparametric approach suggested by [PorterPorter2002], ultimately comparing "similar" mortgage loans in terms of geography, loan size, and loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. In the end, I find estimates of the jumbo-conforming spread to be 13 to 24 basis points--50 to 24 percent smaller since about 1996, when credit scores became widely used in mortgage underwriting, than estimates from a commonly used parametric model. I attribute the difference in estimates to credit quality and other unobserved characteristics, among other potential explanations, making these controls an important issue in estimating the jumbo-conforming spread.

The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. Section 2 describes the data while Section 3 describes the methodology I use to estimate the jumbo-conforming spread. Section 4 discusses the results and the final section concludes.

2 Data

This paper uses the Monthly Interest Rate Survey (MIRS) data from the Federal Housing Finance Board from January 1993 to June 2007. The MIRS collects information on individual mortgages originated during the final five business days of each month, including nominal and effective mortgage rates, loan size, LTV ratio, type of loan, loan maturity, loan purpose, and source of loan. It also contains geographic information, including ZIP code.

I use commercially available data to append ZIP-code-level demographic information, based on the 2000 Census, and to geo-code ZIP codes (i.e., convert ZIP codes to latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates). Demographic information includes urban/suburban/rural, race, age, and education population shares, as well as average income and house values. In addition, state laws may affect the profitability of lending, and thus may affect the mortgage contracts offered to borrowers. For example, foreclosure laws govern how much lenders can recover from defaulted mortgage borrowers. I add indicator variables for three features of foreclosure laws: whether a state requires a judicial foreclosure process or statutory right of redemption and whether a state prohibits deficiency judgments. For more information on these variables, see [PencePence2006].

Similar to other studies that estimate the jumbo-conforming spread, I restrict attention to 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with LTV ratios between 20 and 100 percent. Additionally, I exclude mortgages originated in Alaska and Hawaii (these states have higher conforming loan limits and pose an
identification problem because they are not contiguous to the continental United States), mortgages with invalid or missing ZIP codes, mortgages smaller than 1/8th of the conforming loan limit, as well as any mortgage with an interest rate more than 1.5 percentage points below the previous month's
average mortgage rate (to eliminate implausibly low mortgage rates; the same method used by the FHFB during the 1990s). After these data filters, I am left with about 1.9 million mortgages for the January 1993 to June 2007 period.^{4}

3 Methodology

The typical starting point for estimating the jumbo-conforming spread ([Hendershott and ShillingHendershott and Shilling1989]) is to estimate a relationship of the form:

(1) |

where is the mortgage rate (or spread) on loan , indicates that loan is a jumbo loan ( is non-jumbo), is a function of loan size (presumably capturing the amortization of fixed and origination costs), is a vector of LTV-ratio indicator variables

This paper augments this parametric model by (1) adding state-level foreclosure laws and ZIP-level demographic variables to , (2) estimating nonparametrically the effect of loan size and LTV ratio on mortgage rates, and (3) including geographic location as a control for some unobserved borrower and market characteristics that might vary over geography, such as credit scores, debt-to-income ratios, or house price volatility. More specifically, the semiparametric model takes the form:

(2) |

The first contribution of this paper is straightforward. If demographic variables influence mortgage rates and the probability of having a jumbo mortgage, but are excluded from equations 3 or 3, then estimates of the jumbo-conforming spread will be biased. By including ZIP-level demographic variables, I hope to avoid at least part of this potential bias.

The second contribution of this paper is to allow the data to determine the shape of , using nonparametric regression techniques. This contrasts with the parametric approach of specifying

(3) |

The third contribution of this paper is the inclusion of geographic location () as a control for some unobservable borrower or market characteristics that might vary over geography.
That is, households near each other might have similar *unobservable* borrower or market characteristics, such as credit quality, debt-to-income ratios, or house price volatility.

Several conditions for consistent estimation are necessary. First, some degree of smoothness of in
is required. The primary discontinuities to be modeled explicitly in the model are at the conforming loan limit (the effect of jumbo status on mortgage rates) and
at state boundaries (via the foreclosure indicator variables).^{6} Second, the familiar exogeneity condition,
, is required.^{7}

The trick, then, is how to identify the effect of jumbo status on the mortgage rate, . Hahn, Todd, and Van der Klaauw (2001) suggest estimating separately: (i) the limit of as the loan size approaches the conforming loan limit from below, denoted , using data only on conforming mortgages, and (ii) the limit of from above, denoted , estimated using data only on jumbo mortgages. An estimate of the effect of jumbo status on the mortgage rate is then the difference in the limits of at the conforming loan limit: .

An alternative approach, suggested by Porter (2002) and implemented in this paper, is to move over to the left-hand side of equation 3, and then minimize the sum of squared residuals with respect to the choice of . That is, choose such that

Each of these two approaches has advantages and disadvantages. The former method is easy to compute, but suffers from the effects of small samples, especially given the size of some of the monthly jumbo mortgage samples. It has the additional disadvantage that the jumbo-conforming spread is identified at the boundary of two subsamples, raising questions about boundary bias. The latter approach, however, is computationally expensive, as it estimates local-linear regressions on the entire sample for each step of the optimization process. It does, however, reduce problems associated with small sample sizes and boundary bias.

I use local-linear regression to estimate in this paper. Under this approach, the expected value of a variable will be a weighted average of the values for observations which are "nearby" in the sense of having similar values of conditioning variables . The kernel weights place more weight on observations close by than on those farther away. Here, I use a normal (Gaussian) product kernel, so that

(5) |

where is the standard normal density function. The kernel bandwidth, , controls how much weight each observation receives in the weighted average. It is effectively a scaling variable, so that with a small bandwidth, only very close observations are included, while with a larger bandwidth, more observations are included. The bandwidth enters the kernel via .

As opposed to Nadaraya-Watson regression, which essentially fits a constant to the data close to a specific observation using data near that observation ( where ), local-linear regression fits a straight line through a specific observation using data near that observation ( where and is a selection vector with 1 in its first element and zeros elsewhere). As it turns out, local-linear regression is equivalent to a weighted least squares regression of on with weights .

[RobinsonRobinson1988] shows how to estimate from equation 3--similar to partial linear regression in the linear regression context. First, take conditional expectations of equation 3 (with subtracted from both sides):

(6) |

Then let and , so that

(note that and ). Now subtract equation 7 from equation 3 to obtain

So to estimate , first perform local-linear regressions of on and on , then regress the residuals on the residuals . In our optimization algorithm, is computed for each trial in the Newton-Raphson iterations.

As noted by [Pagan and UllahPagan and Ullah1999], local-linear regression reduces boundary bias relative to the usual Nadaraya-Watson regression. Note that boundary bias could be a particular problem with the approach suggested by [Hahn, Todd, and Van der KlaauwHahn et al.2001], in that the treatment effect is identified at the boundaries of the jumbo and conforming subsamples. The approach suggested by [PorterPorter2002], however, identifies
in the interior of the data span. Further, [RobinsonRobinson1988] and [PorterPorter2002] show that
at semiparametric rates (slower than -convergence).^{10}

4 Results

For each month of the MIRS data, I estimate the benchmark parametric model and the semiparametric partial local-linear regression model.^{11} Figure
4 shows the 12-month moving averages for the two estimated time series of the jumbo-conforming spread as well as the unconditional jumbo-conforming spread, while Table 5 shows some sample statistics. As shown, the estimated jumbo-conforming
spread series vary considerably during the January 1993 to June 2007 period. On average, the estimated jumbo-conforming spread under the parametric approach (27 basis points) is nearly 20 percent higher than under the semiparametric approach (22 basis points), and about 24 percent higher since
1996. This difference rises to as much as 75 percent in 2004. Both sets of estimates consistently exceed the unconditional difference between jumbo and conforming mortgage rates.

Of particular note is how the 12-month moving averages tend to track each other closely up until about 1996. Then the two series appear to drift apart permanently. One possible explanation for this is the widespread introduction of credit scoring in mortgage underwriting. In particular, the inclusion of credit scores in mortgage underwriting processes started around the end of 1995. Because the jumbo-conforming spread is estimated to be smaller when geography is included in the conditioning set, homeowners right at the conforming loan limit might have better credit quality than homeowners just above the conforming loan limit. For instance, a borrower who has the resources available to lower his or her loan size or LTV (perhaps as a signal on his or her credit worthiness) might have better credit quality than a borrower who does not have the resources available to lower his or her loan size or LTV. It could also be the case that jumbo borrowers no longer need to signal their credit quality through their loan-to-value ratios and jumbo-conforming status; now they can signal their credit quality through their credit scores. In either case, controlling for (unobserved) credit quality would tend to lower estimates of the jumbo-conforming spread, relative to an approach without such a control, as the effect would be separately identified from the jumbo-conforming spread.

Table 5 shows the average parameter estimates across time for each of the estimated models. Note that the average estimated effect of jumbo status on mortgage rates is positive (22 basis points), as are the effects of fees paid at closing (7 basis pints), whether the mortgage was originated by a mortgage company (9 basis points), whether the home was new (7 basis points), as well as state laws pertaining to whether judicial foreclosure is required (2 basis points) and whether deficiency judgments are prohibited (6 basis points). In the parametric specifications, loan size and the LTV ratio also have fairly substantial effects on mortgage rates (these effects are implicit in the semiparametric estimates). Of particular note are the average -squared values. The benchmark parametric model explains only about 11 percent of the variation in mortgage rates, on average. Without state-level foreclosure and ZIP-level demographic variables, the average -squared falls to around 8 percent. But for the semiparametric model the average -squared increases to over 61 percent, presumably reflecting nonlinearities of in and unobserved borrower and market characteristics that vary over geographic location.

Table 5 shows the parameter estimates for July 2005, as a particular example. The estimated effect of jumbo status on mortgage rates is statistically significant and positive (24 basis points), as are the effects of mortgage company origination (11 basis points), fees paid at closing (8 basis points), and new homes (20 basis points). In the parametric specifications, loan size and the LTV ratio again have statistically significant effects on mortgage rates. The same pattern also emerges with respect to the measure of fit: The semiparametric model dominates the benchmark parametric model.

At this point, several extensions deserve additional consideration. First, outside of [Ambrose, LaCour-Little, and SandersAmbrose et al.2004], the literature has largely ignored the potential endogeneity of loan size and LTV (and thus sample selection in jumbo status). In the parametric setting at least, procedures already exist to address these issues. The following subsections take a first pass at exploring these issues in the semiparametric context. Finally, estimates of the jumbo-conforming spread might vary across geographic locations. Thus, estimating the jumbo-conforming spread for specific geographies could prove to be an interesting exercise.

4a Endogeneity

As noted above, estimates of the jumbo-conforming spread to this point have largely ignored the potential endogeneity of loan size and the loan-to-value ratio--i.e., the ability of certain borrowers to choose loan sizes and LTV ratios in order to secure conforming mortgage status (be it due to perceived price differences or to signaling good credit quality)--and the resulting sample selection of jumbo status. Thus, this section considers a semiparametric model that conditions only on geographic location (i.e., in equation 3). Now loans are compared only on the basis of how physically close they are and not on how they compare in loan size and loan-to-value ratio.

In addition, I estimate a nonparametric sample selection equation using jumbo mortgage status as the dependent variable and as the conditioning set. This essentially estimates the proportion of jumbo mortgages for any particular ZIP code and assumes that one borrower's jumbo-conforming status depends on his or her neighbors' jumbo-conforming status. Then, inserting the estimated inverse Mills ratio as an additional regressor in equation 3, we can evaluate the estimated effect of sample selection on mortgage rates.

As shown in Figure 5, controlling for the potential endogeneity of loan size and LTV and sample selection in jumbo status reduces the average estimate of the jumbo-conforming spread to about 13 basis points--a difference of over 40 percent from the original
semiparametric model and a difference of nearly 50 percent from the benchmark parametric model. However, this estimate is not as low as the unconditional difference between jumbo and conforming mortgage rates, which averages 7 basis points over the 1993-2007 period. Further, contrary to the results
reported in [Ambrose, LaCour-Little, and SandersAmbrose et al.2004], the estimated coefficient on the inverse Mills ratio is consistently small and statistically insignificant across time using these data and these methods.^{12}

4b State-Level Estimates

Figure 6 shows how the concentration of jumbo mortgages varies from state to state during June and July 2005. In general, fewer jumbo mortgages were originated in the middle of the country with the vast majority of jumbo mortgages being originated in coastal states. Within these data, the highest concentration of jumbo mortgage originations occurred in Washington DC, California, Maryland, Rhode Island, Virginia, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, while no jumbo mortgages were originated in Arkansas, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Vermont during this period. With this in mind, how does the jumbo-conforming spread vary across states?

To answer this, I estimate the models for each state.^{13} As shown in Figure 7, semiparametric estimates of the
jumbo-conforming spread were close to zero in 15 states and in excess of 33 basis points in 6 states. The national average was 24 basis points. Parametric estimates of the jumbo-conforming spread, in contrast, were near zero in 8 states and exceeded 33 basis points in 20 states. Here, the national
average was 33 basis points. So the jumbo-conforming does indeed appear to vary by state, possibly reflecting further unobserved borrower or local market characteristics. Interestingly, there is no obvious correlation between the concentration of jumbo mortgages originated and the estimated
jumbo-conforming spread across states.

This paper estimates the jumbo-conforming spread using data from the Federal Housing Finance Board's Monthly Interest Rate Survey from January 1993 to June 2007. Importantly, this paper augments the typical parametric approach by adding state-level foreclosure laws and ZIP-level demographic variables to the model, estimating the effects of loan size and loan-to-value ratio on mortgage rates nonparametrically, and including geographic location as a control for some potentially unobserved borrower and market characteristics that might vary over geography, such as credit scores, debt-to-income ratios, and house price volatility. A partial local-linear regression approach is used to estimate the jumbo-conforming spread, on the premise that loans similar to each other in terms of loan size, loan-to-value ratio, or geographic location might also be similar in other, unobservable borrower and market characteristics. I find estimates of the jumbo-conforming spread to be 13 to 24 basis points--50 to 24 percent smaller since about 1996, when credit scores became widely used in mortgage underwriting, than estimates from a commonly used parametric model. I therefore attribute the difference in estimates to credit quality and other unobserved characteristics, among other potential explanations, making these controls an important issue in estimating the jumbo-conforming spread.

The effect of conforming loan status on mortgage yield spreads: A loan level analysis.

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A new spin on the jumbo/conforming loan rate differential.

*Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics* *23*, 309-35.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research.

Identification and estimation of treatment effects with a regression-discontinuity design.

*Econometrica* *69*, 201-9.

The impact of the agencies on conventional fixed-rate mortgage yields.

*Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics* *2*, 101-15.

GSEs, mortgage rates, and secondary market activities.

Forthcoming in*Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics*.

Forthcoming in

A reconsideration of the jumbo/non-jumbo mortgage rate differential.

*Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics* *25*, 197-214.

The effects of purchases of mortgages and securitization by government sponsored enterprises on mortgage yield spreads and volatility.

*Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics* *25*, 173-96.

Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

The effect of housing government-sponsored enterprises on mortgage rates.

*Real Estate Economics* *33*, 427-63.

GSEs, mortgage rates, and the long-run effects of mortgage securitization.

*Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics* *25*, 215-42.

Foreclosing on opportunity: State laws and mortgage credit.

*Review of Economics and Statistics* *88*, 177-82.

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Discussion Paper No. 1989, Harvard Institute of Economic Research, Harvard University, Cambridge MA.

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*Econometrica* *56*, 931-54.

New York, NY: Chapman and Hall.

Interest rate differentials between jumbo and conforming mortgages.

http://www.cbo.gov.

Bootstrap standard errors in parentheses.

#### Footnotes

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Mean | Median | Std.Dev. | Minimum | Maximum | Correlation | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

Total Semiparametric | 22.23 | 22.83 | 13.49 | -30.74 | 57.93 | .7291 |

Total Parametric | 26.53 | 27.53 | 12.76 | -44.77 | 62.26 | |

1993 Semiparametric | 19.64 | 17.88 | 11.47 | -5.41 | 35.76 | .3099 |

1993 Parametric | 22.60 | 24.08 | 10.14 | 9.71 | 36.52 | |

1994 Semiparametric | 7.24 | 7.87 | 18.79 | -30.74 | 32.94 | .7415 |

1994 Parametric | -0.25 | 5.95 | 20.69 | -44.77 | 23.95 | |

1995 Semiparametric | 22.26 | 23.55 | 17.45 | -14.89 | 55.28 | .8130 |

1995 Parametric | 24.53 | 27.03 | 15.00 | -3.85 | 41.49 | |

1996 Semiparametric | 27.51 | 27.27 | 12.45 | 6.40 | 50.12 | .7360 |

1996 Parametric | 24.83 | 21.54 | 8.68 | 15.17 | 39.71 | |

1997 Semiparametric | 16.71 | 16.03 | 8.15 | 2.53 | 29.34 | .8453 |

1997 Parametric | 21.55 | 22.64 | 6.30 | 11.80 | 31.59 | |

1998 Semiparametric | 30.06 | 30.93 | 7.03 | 11.66 | 38.76 | .5107 |

1998 Parametric | 35.20 | 34.68 | 3.42 | 30.36 | 41.15 | |

1999 Semiparametric | 23.60 | 24.16 | 8.98 | 9.25 | 38.55 | .7478 |

1999 Parametric | 27.40 | 25.50 | 6.47 | 18.42 | 38.19 | |

2000 Semiparametric | 22.35 | 22.02 | 14.14 | -5.64 | 43.96 | .5880 |

2000 arametric | 33.95 | 34.63 | 7.13 | 24.56 | 47.65 | |

2001 Semiparametric | 34.18 | 31.83 | 15.55 | 5.27 | 57.93 | .9546 |

2001 Parametric | 38.79 | 34.72 | 12.72 | 18.50 | 62.26 | |

2002 Semiparametric | 19.13 | 17.87 | 7.93 | 9.82 | 30.85 | .5376 |

2002 Parametric | 27.10 | 28.19 | 5.59 | 18.47 | 32.88 | |

2003 Semiparametric | 27.53 | 24.97 | 12.47 | 10.19 | 56.73 | .7550 |

2003 Parametric | 31.74 | 29.79 | 9.72 | 17.77 | 47.55 | |

2004 Semiparametric | 14.59 | 15.39 | 6.55 | 2.71 | 23.77 | .4686 |

2004 Parametric | 25.49 | 24.83 | 2.35 | 22.14 | 28.96 | |

2005 Semiparametric | 16.10 | 19.30 | 9.37 | -3.36 | 25.94 | .4607 |

2005 Parametric | 26.33 | 26.03 | 5.27 | 16.60 | 37.62 | |

2006 Semiparametric | 29.47 | 33.62 | 11.75 | 9.44 | 51.53 | .6501 |

2006 Parametric | 31.85 | 31.09 | 6.16 | 22.38 | 41.66 | |

2007 Semiparametric | 23.90 | 21.06 | 10.11 | 15.88 | 43.83 | .9439 |

2007 Parametric | 27.04 | 24.24 | 7.19 | 22.64 | 41.54 |

Semiparametric | Parametric (1) | Parametric (2) | |
---|---|---|---|

Constant | -0.0019 | 9.0605 | 8.6741 |

Jumbo mortgage | 0.2223 | 0.2695 | 0.2653 |

-- | -0.1652 | -0.1644 | |

-- | -0.0069 | -0.0121 | |

-- | 0.1164 | 0.1127 | |

-- | 0.0567 | 0.0575 | |

Mortgage company | 0.0888 | 0.0763 | 0.0904 |

Fees paid | 0.0700 | 0.0647 | 0.0649 |

New home | 0.0674 | 0.0509 | 0.0512 |

Urban pop. share | -0.0004 | -- | -0.0005 |

Suburban pop. share | -0.0002 | -- | -0.0001 |

Black pop. share | 0.0008 | -- | 0.0003 |

Asian pop. share | -0.0001 | -- | 0.0011 |

Hisp. pop. share | 0.0004 | -- | 0.0020 |

Age 0-9 pop. share | 0.0004 | -- | 0.0002 |

Age 10-17 pop. share | 0.0012 | -- | 0.0008 |

Age 18-21 pop. share | 0.0002 | -- | -0.0029 |

Age 22-29 pop. share | 0.0017 | -- | 0.0000 |

Age 40-49 pop. share | 0.0014 | -- | -0.0004 |

Age 50-59 pop. share | 0.0022 | -- | -0.0002 |

Age 60-69 pop. share | 0.0021 | -- | 0.0021 |

Age 70-79 pop. share | 0.0000 | -- | 0.0004 |

Age 80+ pop. share | 0.0005 | -- | 0.0020 |

Edu. 9 pop. share | -0.0007 | -- | -0.0047 |

Edu. 9-12 pop. share | -0.0002 | -- | 0.0011 |

Edu. coll. pop. share | 0.0010 | -- | 0.0030 |

Edu. Assoc. pop. share | -0.0039 | -- | 0.0011 |

Edu. Bach. pop. share | -0.0010 | -- | -0.0055 |

Edu. Prof. pop. share | -0.0014 | -- | 0.0018 |

0.0012 | -- | -0.0288 | |

0.0033 | -- | 0.0576 | |

Judicial foreclosure | 0.0152 | -- | 0.0211 |

Right of redemption | 0.0040 | -- | 0.0017 |

Deficiency judgment | 0.0584 | -- | 0.0110 |

-squared | 0.6144 | 0.0824 | 0.1110 |

Semiparametric | Parametric (1) | Parametric (2) | |
---|---|---|---|

Constant | -0.0033 * | 8.3491 * | 8.3885 * |

Constant (standard error) | (.0011) | (.2066) | (.7236) |

Jumbo mortgage | 0.2387 * | 0.3896 * | 0.3762 * |

Jumbo mortgage (standard error) | (.0566) | (.0331) | (.0305) |

-- | -0.2220 * | -0.2037 * | |

(standard error) | (.0170) | (.0180) | |

-- | -0.0618 * | -0.0617 * | |

(standard error) | (.0155) | (.0149) | |

-- | 0.3299 * | 0.3061 * | |

(standard error) | (.0344) | (.0329) | |

-- | 0.0527 * | 0.0366 | |

(standard error) | (.0215) | (.0208) | |

Mortgage company | 0.1062 * | 0.1206 * | 0.1327 * |

Mortgage company (standard error) | (.0174) | (.0172) | (.0137) |

Fees paid | 0.0825 * | 0.0664 * | 0.0704 * |

Fees paid (standard error) | (.0122) | (.0171) | (.0143) |

New home | 0.1987 * | 0.2321 * | 0.2314 * |

New home (standard error) | (.0189) | (.0236) | (.0215) |

Urban pop. share | 0.0003 | -- | 0.0000 |

Urban pop. share (standard error) | (.0003) | (.0003) | |

Suburban pop. share | 0.0013 * | -- | 0.0012 * |

Suburban pop. share (standard error) | (.0004) | (.0004) | |

Black pop. share | 0.0004 | -- | 0.0012 |

Black pop. share (standard error) | (.0008) | (.0007) | |

Asian pop. share | -0.0024 | -- | 0.0000 |

Asian pop. share (standard error) | (.0014) | (.0019) | |

Hisp. pop. share | 0.0009 | -- | 0.0032 * |

Hisp. pop. share (standard error) | (.0012) | (.0010) | |

Age 0-9 pop. share | -0.0053 | -- | -0.0086 |

Age 0-9 pop. share (standard error) | (.0065) | (.0056) | |

Age 10-17 pop. share | -0.0001 | -- | -0.0001 |

Age 10-17 pop. share (standard error) | (.0058) | (.0046) | |

Age 18-21 pop. share | -0.0001 | -- | -0.0050 |

Age 18-21 pop. share (standard error) | (.0041) | (.0039) | |

Age 22-29 pop. share | -0.0049 | -- | -0.0066 |

Age 22-29 pop. share (standard error) | (.0068) | (.0050) | |

Age 40-49 pop. share | 0.0030 | -- | 0.0010 |

Age 40-49 pop. share (standard error) | (.0052) | (.0050) | |

Age 50-59 pop. share | -0.0077 | -- | -0.0096 * |

Age 50-59 pop. share (standard error) | (.0055) | (.0047) | |

Age 60-69 pop. share | 0.0091 | -- | 0.0064 |

Age 60-69 pop. share (standard error) | (.0065) | (.0067) | |

Age 70-79 pop. share | -0.0107 * | -- | -0.0040 |

Age 70-79 pop. share (standard error) | (.0053) | (.0062) | |

Age 80+ pop. share | 0.0032 | -- | 0.0005 |

Age 80+ pop. share (standard error) | (.0065) | (.0059) | |

Edu. 9 pop. share | 0.0064 | -- | -0.0060 |

Edu. 9 pop. share (standard error) | (.0055) | (.0052) | |

Edu. 9-12 pop. share | -0.0013 | -- | 0.0102 * |

Edu. 9-12 pop. share (standard error) | (.0057) | (.0042) | |

Edu. coll. pop. share | 0.0013 | -- | 0.0038 |

Edu. coll. pop. share (standard error) | (.0041) | (.0034) | |

Edu. Assoc. pop. share | 0.0004 | -- | -0.0050 |

Edu. Assoc. pop. share (standard error) | (.0068) | (.0051) | |

Edu. Bach. pop. share | -0.0046 | -- | -0.0009 |

Edu. Bach. pop. share (standard error) | (.0031) | (.0032) | |

Edu. Prof. pop. share | 0.0007 | -- | 0.0048 |

Edu. Prof. pop. share (standard error) | (.0033) | (.0031) | |

0.0347 | -- | 0.0116 | |

(standard error) | (.0779) | (.0590) | |

-0.0049 | -- | -0.0231 | |

(standard error) | (.0380) | (.0312) | |

Judicial foreclosure | -0.0116 | -- | 0.0237 |

Judicial foreclosure (standard error) | (.0346) | (.0174) | |

Right of redemption | 0.2287 * | -- | -0.0928 * |

Right of redemption (standard error) | (.0593) | (.0319) | |

Deficiency judgment | -0.1123 | -- | -0.0321 * |

Deficiency judgment | (.1163) | (.0191) | |

-squared | 0.6636 | 0.1213 | 0.1404 |

* = statistically significant at 95 percent confidence level.

1. I thank Brent Ambrose, Brian Bucks, Karen Dynan, Wayne Passmore, Karen Pence and seminar participants at the Federal Reserve Board and the 2007 AREUEA Annual Meetings for helpful comments and suggestions. This paper represents the views of the author and
does not necessarily represent the views of the Federal Reserve Board, its members, or its staff. Return to Text

2. Using time-series data from 1993 to 2005, [Lehnert, Passmore, and SherlundLehnert et al.2008] find that GSE portfolio purchases have no effect on mortgage rates. Return to Text

3. Conforming loans have stricter underwriting requirements than nonconforming loans, whereas jumbo loans have loan sizes above the conforming loan limit. Return to Text

4. Over this period, the MIRS data contain observations on over 3.4 million total mortgage originations. Of these, 908 thousand are adjustable-rate mortgages, 506 thousand have terms other than 30 years, 39 thousand have invalid or missing ZIP codes, 11
thousand are from Alaska or Hawaii, 11 thousand have LTV ratios less than 20 percent or greater than 100 percent, 22 thousand have loan amounts smaller than 1/8th the conforming loan limit, and less than 1 thousand violated the mortgage rate filter. Return to
Text

5. Classifications include
,
(excluded),
, and
. Return to Text

6. Additional discontinuities include loan-to-value ratio, whether the mortgage had fees paid at closing, whether the mortgage was originated by a mortgage company, and whether the home was new. Return to Text

7. I relax this condition in section 4.1. Return to Text

8. Distances between ZIP code centroids are computed using the Haversine formula for great circle distances. Return to Text

9. Ideally, one would cross-validate the bandwidth parameters, but this proves to be computationally prohibitive in this application. I therefore use a rule-of-thumb bandwidth suggested by [SilvermanSilverman1986],
, where
, is the standard deviation of
, and
. Bandwidths range from 0.15 to 0.22 for
, from 4.4 to 6.5 percentage points for , and from 28 to 44 miles
over geography. Return to Text

10. As with cross-validation of the bandwidth parameters, bootstrapping the standard errors of the parameter estimates is too computationally burdensome, although I show bootstrapped standard errors for one month, in particular, as an example. Return to Text

11. I also estimate a parametric model that excludes the state-level foreclosure and ZIP-level demographic variables to show how much power the nonparametric components add to the estimation, as opposed to the state- and ZIP-level variables. These estimates
are similar to the benchmark parametric model's and thus are largely omitted. Return to Text

12. Estimates are available upon request. Return to Text

13. Because many cities span state lines, I include out-of-state observations within 100 miles of state boundaries in each state's individual estimation. Return to Text