In or Out of Mortgage Trouble? A Study of Bankrupt Homeowners
American Bankruptcy Law Journal, Vol. 85, No. 3, pp. 291-322, 2011
32 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2011
Date Written: September 16, 2011
We examine the determinants of missed payments and foreclosure initiation among a national sample of homeowners who filed for personal bankruptcy in 2007, using a rich dataset from the 2007 Consumer Bankruptcy Project.
Credit access had a significant effect on keeping mortgages current across all of our models: access to, and reliance on, credit cards reduced the chance of missed payments and default, increasing the likelihood that bankruptcy could produce a fresh start. Missed mortgage payments also were associated with a substantial drop in income and with the use of a mortgage broker. The probability of foreclosure initiation was lower in states with longer foreclosure timelines.
We discuss the implications of our findings for consumer credit regulation, bankruptcy reform, and an integrated view of federal bankruptcy law and state foreclosure law.
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