Law Review: Levitin, Lin, & Wachter- Mortgage Risk Premia During the Housing Bubble


How did mortgage risk pricing for securitized loans change during the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis? Using a database from a major American bank that serves as trustee for private-label securitized loans, this paper shows that the decline in underwriting standards was accompanied by a decline in credit spreads on mortgages, after adjusting for loan/borrower characteristics. Observable information, including FICO and LTV, became less influential on mortgage risk pricing over time during the housing bubble. As the volume of mortgages expanded and lending terms eased during the bubble, the increase in risk failed to be reflected in higher risk premiums. The result is consistent with a rightward shift of the mortgage credit supply curve during the housing bubble.


This study indicates that the housing bubble was driven primarily by an increase in the supply of credit rather than a growth in demand. More research would be valuable to determine whether and to what extent that supply of credit was dependent on anti-modification of mortgages.

For a copy of the paper, please see:

Mortgage Risk Premia During the Housing Bubble


1. Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Washington University, 1993. 2. Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University, 1996. Admissions to Practice of Law: North Carolina Bar, 1996. Federal District Courts for the Eastern and Middle Districts of North Carolina. Specialty Certification: North Carolina State Bar: Certified as a Specialist in Consumer Bankruptcy. Areas of Practice: Practice limited to consumer and business debtor bankruptcy law, 1998 to present. Memberships: National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA). North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers (NCATL). North Carolina Bar Association, Bankruptcy Section. Lectures prepared and presented: North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers seminar on bankruptcy; Topic: Counseling the Consumer Debtor Prior to Court - C.Y.A. Forms to Help 'Gird They Loins'; 2001. Middle District Bankruptcy Seminar; Topic: Preparing Chapter 13 Plans; 2002. NACBA National Convention; Topic: Efficient Office Practices; 2003. NACBA National Convention; Topic: Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Debates; 2004. Middle District Bankruptcy Seminar; Topic: Chapter 7 & 13 Hot Issues; 2004. Positions held: NACBA National Convention; Convention Chair; 2008. NACBA National Convention; Panel Moderator: Topic: Basic Bankruptcy Issues; 2008. NACBA National Convention; Panel Moderator; Topic: Chapter 13-Disposable Income and Other Issues; 2007. NACBA National Convention; Panel Moderator; Topic: Representing Members of the Military and Their Families; 2007. NACBA, Member of National Board of Directors, 2006 to present. NCATL, Chair of the Bankruptcy Section, 2003 to 2007. NACBA, Chair of the North Carolina Section, 2003 to 2007. NC Bar Association, Bankruptcy Section, Bankruptcy Council Member, 2004 to present.

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