This paper offers a game-theoretic model for both the analysis and valuation of mortgage contracts in the context of an economy with complete information and complete contingent claims markets. We analyze the equilibrium strategy of the lender, who holds an option over the magnitude of mortgage credit extended per dollar of collateral offered, and the mortgagor, who holds options to default or prepay, in a class of intertemporal mortgage contracts collateralized by property evolving according to a random process which is common knowledge to both parties to the mortgage contract. Using continuous–time arbitrage valuation principles, we derive the value of the mortgage contract to both parties and show, through both analytical solutions and numerical simulations, that Markov perfect equilibria exist in which, among other properties, a lower flow of housing services accruing to the borrower, per dollar of initial house value, and a correspondingly lower rate of effective depreciation, will elicit a larger volume of funds offered by a lender; the amount of credit offered, the values of the contract to both lender and mortgagor, and the expected losses to both parties from costly bankruptcy are highly sensitive to the perceived volatility of the value of the property collateralizing the mortgage, even in an economy with complete markets or risk neutrality on the parts of lender and borrower; the upper limit on mortgage credit offered by a rational lender may be a small fraction of the current fair market value of the property, regardless of the contractual yield offered by the borrower, and will decrease, at each such yield, as bankruptcy costs or housing service flows increase; and under significant but plausible values for bankruptcy and costs of liquidating property under foreclosure, the flow of mortgage credit can become negatively related to the spread of the mortgage yield over the riskless rate, with the lender preferring a lower contractual yield to a higher one.
The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 18, 2004
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