Financial Fragility with SAM?
55 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2017 Last revised: 23 Mar 2018
Date Written: March 19, 2018
Shared Appreciation Mortgages (SAMs) feature mortgage payments that adjust with house prices. These mortgage contracts are designed to stave off home owner default by providing payment relief in the wake of a large house price shock. SAMs have been hailed as an innovative solution that could prevent the next foreclosure crisis, act as a work-out tool during a crisis, and alleviate fiscal pressure during a downturn. They have inspired Fintech companies to offer home equity contracts. However, the home owner's gains are the mortgage lender's losses. A general equilibrium model with financial intermediaries who channel savings from saver households to borrower households shows that indexation of mortgage payments to aggregate house prices increases financial fragility, reduces risk sharing, and leads to expensive financial sector bailouts. In contrast, indexation to local house prices reduces financial fragility and improves risk-sharing. The two types of indexation have opposite implications for wealth inequality.
Keywords: mortgage design, financial intermediation, housing policy
JEL Classification: G01, G21, E44
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation