Working Papers

The Role of the Implied Guarantee Subsidy in FHLB Membership: Beautiful Politics but Ugly Policy

Author: Don Layton | July 27, 2020

The Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) system consists of eleven regional banks that are cooperatives owned by their members, which their congressional charters currently specify can include commercial banks, thrifts, credit unions, insurance companies and certain other organizations. Because of the government support to their borrowings, the advances are low cost compared to the regular market rate funding available to the member-owners. The original focus of the FHLB system, as implied by its name, was on mortgage lending and mortgage-centric financial institutions that were not eligible to be members of the Federal Reserve system....

Floodway Buyout Strategy for a Resilient Houston

Authors: Erica Vilay, Phil Pollman | July 09, 2020

Houston, Texas, America’s most diverse and fourth-largest city, is the most flooded city in the United States. Houston’s geography and urban planning make flooding and water damage a constant threat. Houston is also the largest city in the US without a zoning ordinance code, though it does have land-use restrictions. The structures, policies, and tactics of disaster recovery today are not preparing the City of Houston for the increasingly costly events of tomorrow. ...

Demystifying GSE Credit Risk Transfer: Part III – Special Interests and Politicization

Author: Don Layton | July 06, 2020

This third installment about demystifying single-family mortgage credit risk transfer (CRT) by the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae describes a series of attempts to politicize CRT, including an analysis and correction of the many misconceptions integral to those attempts....

Racial Stratification and School Segregation in the Suburbs: The Case of Los Angeles County

Author: Jared Schachner | June 24, 2020

With residential mobility declining and educational choice increasing, white and Asian suburban families may emulate their core-city counterparts, leveraging school enrollment to buffer their children from disadvantaged minorities living nearby. However, the suburban educational opportunity structure is vastly different, with private, magnet, and charter schools – and transportation options to access them – in much shorter supply....

America’s Housing Finance System in the Pandemic: The Causes and Policy Implications of Credit Tightening

Author: Don Layton | June 16, 2020

As the economic impact of the pandemic continues, one of the biggest issues to emerge in housing finance is the availability of mortgages. Media reporting and policy discussions often imply that mortgage credit tightening – which has undeniably occurred – is a major problem, maybe even on par with what happened in the financial crisis just over a decade ago. Additionally, especially in the housing finance policy community, the implication seems to be that somehow much or even all of that tightening is illegitimate, a failure of government policy...

Empowering Resident Leaders: Lessons from NeighborWorks’ Community Leadership Institute

Author: Margaret Haltom | April 24, 2020

Since 1993, NeighborWorks America has convened over 15,000 lower-income resident leaders at the Community Leadership Institute (CLI). From nearly three decades of large-scale resident support, the CLI stands out as the nation’s largest effort to amplify resident voices, but no research has explored the CLI’s outcomes, or sought to understand what the resident experience is like, or what community initiatives have resulted following the CLI. This paper offers the first review of the CLI, informed by conversations with more than 70 resident participants, qualitative and quantitative data from 493 participant questionnaires, and case studies of two affordable housing provider....

More for Less? An Inquiry into Design and Construction Strategies for Addressing Multifamily Housing Costs

Author: Hannah Hoyt | March 16, 2020

How can developers, architects and contractors address multifamily housing costs through design and construction decisions?...

The Association Between High Mortgage Debt and Financial Well-Being in Old Age: Implications for the Financial Education Field

Authors: Alexander Hermann, Christopher Herbert, Jennifer Molinsky | February 10, 2020

Over the last few decades the share of older homeowners (age 62 and older) with mortgage debt has doubled, while the typical amount of outstanding debt relative to home values among this group has tripled. Older homeowners still paying off mortgage debt face high rates of housing cost burdens (paying more than 30 percent of income for housing), leaving less income for other necessities. In addition, homeowners with higher mortgage debt have less housing equity to tap for critical needs and face the ongoing risk of foreclosure. ...