Mortgage Prepayment, Race, and Monetary Policy
81 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2021
Date Written: December 1, 2020
Over the period 2005 to 2015, Black borrowers paid more than 40 basis points higher mortgage interest rates than Non-Hispanic white borrowers. We show that the main reason is that Non-Hispanic white borrowers are much more likely to exploit periods of falling interest rates by refinancing their mortgages or moving. Black and Hispanic white borrowers face challenges refinancing because, on average, they have lower credit scores, equity and income. But even holding those factors constant, Blacks and Hispanic white borrowers refinance less suggesting that other social factors are at play. Because they are more likely to exploit lower interest rates, white borrowers benefit more from monetary expansions. Policies that reduce barriers to refinancing for minority borrowers and alternative mortgage contract designs can significantly reduce racial mortgage rate inequality.
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