Are Lending Standards Propping Up Home Prices?
Back in 2005, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan described the dramatic increases in residential real estate values as a “froth in housing markets.” Greenspan went on to say:
With home prices again appreciating at percentages well above historic norms, many are wondering whether the market is again becoming “frothy.” Mortgage standards are much stricter now, however, than they were in 2005.
The Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center issues a monthly index which measures the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default. A lower score indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards. A higher score indicates that lenders are willing to tolerate defaults and are taking more risks.