We analyze the subprime mortgage crisis: an unusually large fraction of subprime mortgages originated in 2006 being delinquent or in foreclosure only months later. We utilize a loan-level database, covering about half of all US subprime mortgages, and identify two major causes. First, over the past five years, high loan-to-value borrowers increasingly became high-risk borrowers, in terms of elevated delinquency and foreclosure rates. Lenders were aware of this and adjusted mortgage rates accordingly over time. Second, the below-average house price appreciation in 2006-2007 further contributed to the crisis.
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