Phasing Out the GSEs
69 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2015 Last revised: 18 Mar 2016
Date Written: February 25, 2016
We develop a new model of the mortgage market where both borrowers and lenders can default. Risk tolerant savers act as intermediaries between risk averse depositors and impatient borrowers. The government plays a crucial role by providing both mortgage guarantees and deposit insurance. Underpriced government mortgage guarantees lead to more and riskier mortgage originations as well as to high financial sector leverage. Mortgage crises occasionally turn into financial crises and government bailouts due to the fragility of the intermediaries' balance sheets. Increasing the price of the mortgage guarantee ``crowds in" the private sector, reduces financial fragility, leads to fewer but safer mortgages, lowers house prices, and raises mortgage and risk-free interest rates. Due to a more robust financial sector, consumption smoothing improves and aggregate welfare increases. While borrowers are nearly indifferent to a world with or without mortgage guarantees, savers are substantially better off. While aggregate welfare increases, so does wealth inequality.
Keywords: financial intermediation, housing policy, government bailouts
JEL Classification: G12, G15, F31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation