Research Discussion Paper – RDP 2020-03 The Determinants of Mortgage Defaults in Australia – Evidence for the Double-trigger Hypothesis


I explore the determinants of mortgage defaults in Australia. Specifically, I use a novel two-stage hazard model to examine evidence for the ‘double-trigger’ hypothesis – that defaults require both an inability to repay the loan and the loan to be in negative equity. My results are broadly consistent with the double-trigger hypothesis. Ability-to-pay factors, such as regional unemployment rates and borrowers' repayment-to-income ratios, are found to be correlated with loans entering arrears. Transitions from arrears to foreclosure, on the other hand, are more closely linked to the extent of negative equity.