Mortgage Modification and the Decision to Strategically Default: A Game Theoretic Approach
28 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2012
Date Written: September 2012
While numerous and varied opinions abound, there remains much confusion why so few mortgages are modified at a time when demand to modify is so high. To better understand this complex issue, we build a game theoretic model to quantify a number of economic incentives and costs surrounding various issues of the lender’s decision to modify a loan and the borrower’s decision to strategically default in an attempt to encourage such a modification. We mathematically demonstrate that under current market conditions, it is rarely economically rational for lenders to modify loans. For the borrower, we find that their negative equity position, growth rate in home prices, and the probability the lender will exercise its legal right to recourse represent the top three strategic default determinants.
Keywords: strategic mortgage default, loan modification, game theory, agent-based modeling
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