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Working Papers

The Great Capital Strike

Working paper #670
Peter Linneman and Man Cho

The growth of the market for residential mortgage-backed securities in the United States has been spectacular: from zero in the early 1980s to multi-trillion annual originations by 2006. Residential mortgage underwriting standards declined for a variety of reasons, including incentives created by the Federal Reserve. This led to the creation of non-transparent mortgage products, many of which were loans to speculative “flipper” homebuyers. The future of securitization remains murky, but will include simpler and more transparent instruments. A necessary condition for a sustainable securitization system is the existence of an “investment community” filled with seasoned and informed investors equipped with proper tools for measuring, managing and trading underlying mortgage risks.

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