Effects of FHA Loan Limit Increases by ESA 2008: Housing Demand and Adverse Selection
57 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2017
Date Written: August 3, 2016
This paper examines the impacts of changes in the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured loan limit in response to the Economic Stimulus Act (ESA) of 2008. We use difference-in-difference approaches to compare the number of transactions and average loan-to-value ratios for properties located in high-cost areas and low-cost areas, before and after the ESA policy change. We find that the increase in loan limits does results larger demand for FHA loans, both in quantity and quality. However, the behavior is not driven by incentives to buy more housing or by wealth constraints. We find evidence of increased moral hazard in the sense that increased loan limits induced riskier borrowers (allowed “cherry-picking” against FHA), and that much of the increased demand for FHA loans came at the expense of other loans. For instance, newly qualified borrowers, especially via cash-out refinance loans, are more likely to take advantage of increased loan limit policy, and adjust their LTVs. Also, newly qualified loans had higher default rates and higher loss given default rate.
Keywords: FHA, housing demand, loan limit, adverse selection, ESA
JEL Classification: G21, G22,G28
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation