Gonzalo Maturana, assistant professor of finance, and coauthor John M. Griffin (U of Texas) argue that securitization was not the only factor in the recent housing crisis. Their new research indicates that questionable mortgage origination practices played a significant role in the distortions in the 2003 to 2012 real estate boom and bust. Specifically, the underreporting of the true risk profiles of borrowers, including the misreporting of second-liens, helped to drive housing demand and, ultimately, contributed to the crisis. They note, “The process of underreporting key loan attributes can have the by-product of facilitating credit to borrowers who have little ability to repay.” The researchers tested their theory by using county deed records, securitized loan information, house price statistics, and home loan application data from a number of reliable sources to detail the 2003 to 2006 run-up of housing prices and its subsequent 2007 to 2012 collapse. After controlling for securitization, they determined that “originator malfeasance” in certain areas also served to raise the credit supply. Maturana and Griffin concluded that dubious originator practices helped to cause house prices in certain zip codes to increase relative to other areas and eventually led to larger price crashes.
Gonzalo Maturana Associate Professor of Finance