Logo Logo

No Job, No Money, No Refi: Frictions to Refinancing in a Recession

Abstract

Frictions that prevent households from refinancing their mortgages during times of economic distress can significantly inhibit policy efforts aimed at curtailing the costs of recessions. In this paper, we study two important and counter-cyclical refinancing frictions: the need to document employment and the need to pay upfront closing costs. To quantify the effect of these frictions on refinancing, we exploit a sharp policy change introduced by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) during the height of the Great Recession that eliminated the ability for unemployed borrowers to refinance and increased the out-of-pocket closing costs for many others. We find that this policy change had very large effects on FHA borrowers; it led to a reduction in the monthly probability of refinancing of about 0.7 percentage points, which is more than 50 percent of the pre-shock average. This reduction in refinancing is concentrated among borrowers likely to be unemployed and among those newly required to pay for closing costs out-of-pocket. Taken together, our results imply a high latent demand for refinancing among the unemployed and underscore the importance of liquidity constraints as a potential barrier to credit access.

Type

Working Paper

Author(s)

John Mondragon, Anthony DeFusco

Date Published

2018

Citations

Mondragon, John, and Anthony DeFusco. 2018. No Job, No Money, No Refi: Frictions to Refinancing in a Recession.

KELLOGG INSIGHT

Explore leading research and ideas

Find articles, podcast episodes, and videos that spark ideas in lifelong learners, and inspire those looking to advance in their careers.
learn more

COURSE CATALOG

Review Courses & Schedules

Access information about specific courses and their schedules by viewing the interactive course scheduler tool.
LEARN MORE

DEGREE PROGRAMS

Discover the path to your goals

Whether you choose our Full-Time, Part-Time or Executive MBA program, you’ll enjoy the same unparalleled education, exceptional faculty and distinctive culture.
learn more