Abstract

This paper studies the refinancing behavior of Danish households during a recent period of declining interest rates. Danish data are particularly suitable for this purpose because the Danish mortgage system imposes few barriers to refinancing, and demographic and economic characteristics of mortgage borrowers can be accurately measured. The paper estimates a mixture model of household refinancing types in which household characteristics affect both inattention (a low proportion of rational refinancers) and inertia (a low probability that inattentive households refinance). Many characteristics move inattention and inertia in the same direction, implying a positive cross-sectional correlation of 0.67 between these two household attributes. Younger, better educated, and higher-income households have less inertia and less inattention. Financial wealth and housing wealth have opposite effects, with the least inertia and inattention among households whose housing wealth is high relative to their financial wealth.

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Data

Danish mortgage data
Association of Danish Mortgage Banks and and the Danish Mortgage Banks' Federation