Are Older Mortgage Applicants More Likely to Be Rejected?


The brief’s key findings are:

  • As the population ages, an important question is whether aging affects a person’s ability to access credit.
  • This study explores the question using data on mortgage refinance applications from the confidential Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.
  • The analysis, which controls for a host of applicant, property, and loan characteristics, finds that rejection rates rise substantially with age.
  • A potential explanation is mortality risk, which increases the likelihood of the loan being paid off early or entering foreclosure.
  • Thus, the results do not necessarily indicate that lenders are violating fair lending rules.

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