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Author:Tracy, Joseph 

Subprime mortgage pricing: the impact of race, ethnicity, and gender on the cost of borrowing

Some observers have argued that minority borrowers and neighborhoods were targeted for expensive credit in 2004-06, the peak period for subprime lending. To investigate this claim, we take advantage of a new data set that merges demographic information on subprime borrowers with information on the mortgages they took out. In a sample of more than 75,000 adjustable-rate mortgages, we find no evidence of adverse pricing by race, ethnicity, or gender in either the initial rate or the reset margin. Indeed, if any pricing differential exists, minority borrowers appear to pay slightly lower rates, ...
Staff Reports , Paper 368

Second chances: subprime mortgage modification and re-default

Mortgage modifications have become an important component of public interventions designed to reduce foreclosures. In this paper, we examine how the structure of a mortgage modification affects the likelihood of the modified mortgage re-defaulting over the next year. Using data on subprime modifications that precede the government's Home Affordable Modification Program, we focus our attention on those modifications in which the borrower was seriously delinquent and the monthly payment was reduced as part of the modification. The data indicate that the re-default rate declines with the ...
Staff Reports , Paper 417

Modeling uncertainty: predictive accuracy as a proxy for predictive confidence

This paper evaluates current strategies for the empirical modeling of forecast behavior. In particular, we focus on the reliability of using proxies from time series models of heteroskedasticity to describe changes in predictive confidence. We address this issue by examining the relationship between ex post forecast errors and ex ante measures of forecast uncertainty from data on inflation forecasts from the Survey of Professional Forecasters. The results provide little evidence of a strong link between observed heteroskedasticity in the consensus forecast errors and forecast uncertainty. ...
Staff Reports , Paper 161

Gender differences in the labor market effects of the dollar

Although the dollar has been shown to influence the expected wages of workers, the analysis to date has focused on the male workforce. We show that exchange rate fluctuations also have important implications for women's wages. The dominant wage effects for women?like those for men?arise at times of job transition. Changes in the value of the dollar can cause the wage gap between women who change jobs and women who stay on in their jobs to expand or contract sharply, with the most pronounced effects occurring among the least educated women and women in highly competitive manufacturing ...
Staff Reports , Paper 121

Journal Article
A look at real housing prices and incomes: some implications for housing affordability and quality

This paper was presented at the conference "Unequal incomes, unequal outcomes? Economic inequality and measures of well-being" as part of session 2, " Affordability of housing for young and poor families." The conference was held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on May 7, 1999. The authors report that the cost of good housing has risen for low-income individuals. The National Association of Realtors affordability index shows that affordability conditions are better today than at any time in the past twenty-five years. However, Gyourko and Tracy's analysis suggests that this ...
Economic Policy Review , Volume 5 , Issue Sep , Pages 63-77

Pandemic Pushed the U.S. into Recession … and Hourly Wages Rose?

The onset of COVID-19 in spring 2020 prompted an unprecedented rapid rise in the unemployment rate. However, a popular and widely cited wage measure—average hourly earnings (AHE)—rose sharply as the health crisis grew.
Dallas Fed Economics

Journal Article
Spotlight: Black Workers at Risk for 'Last Hired, First Fired'

The COVID–19-induced global economic downturn shuttered businesses that have begun slowly reopening and reassessing whether to recall laid-off employees. In the U.S., black unemployment rates have spiked much more than white jobless rates during recessions.
Southwest Economy , Issue Second Quarter

Discussion Paper
The Homeownership Gap Is Finally Closing

The homeownership rate peaked at 69 percent in late 2004. By the summer of 2016, it had dropped below 63 percent—exactly where it was when the government started reporting these data back in 1965. The housing bust played a central role in this decline. We capture this effect through what we call the homeownership gap—the difference between the official homeownership rate and the “effective” rate where only homeowners with positive equity in their house are counted. The effective rate takes into account that a borrower does not in an economic sense own the house if the mortgage debt is ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20170216

Testimony on housing finance reform: essential elements of a government guarantee for mortgage-backed securities

Testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Washington, D.C.
Speech , Paper 122

Discussion Paper
A Close Look at the Decline of Homeownership

The homeownership rate—the percentage of households that own rather than rent the homes that they live in—has fallen sharply since mid-2005. In fact, in the second quarter of 2016 the homeownership rate fell to 62.9 percent, its lowest level since 1965. In this blog post, we look at underlying demographic trends to gain a deeper understanding of the large increase in the homeownership rate from 1995 to 2005 and the subsequent large decline. Although there is reason to believe that the homeownership rate may begin to rise again in the not-too-distant future, it is unlikely to fully recover ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20170217


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