One of the factors driving house price growth in many countries is foreign investor demand. Using new UK data, this column argues that foreign investment has had a significant positive effect on house price growth in the last 15 years. The effect is not limited to expensive homes but ‘trickles down’ to less expensive properties, and is stronger where housing supply is less elastic. Foreign investment is also found to reduce the rate of home ownership, but there is no evidence of an effect on the housing stock or share of vacant homes.
Filipa Sá, 04 January 2017
Nancy E. Wallace, 11 November 2016
There have been changes in the way individuals buy or rent houses. Nancy Wallace explains the role of mortgages and how they should be funded. This video was recorded at the Brevan Howard Centre for Financial Analysis in October 2016.
Joshua Aizenman, Yothin Jinjarak, Huanhuan Zheng, 24 October 2016
The booms and busts of real estate prices echo those of the real business cycle. This column looks at the relationship between house price valuations and economic growth in an international context. Taking account of heterogeneity in housing policies across countries, large house price depreciations are found to be positively associated with economic growth. This positive relationship is more pronounced in countries with civil law legal systems.
Avinash Persaud, 14 April 2016
Since the breakup of Bretton Woods in the early 1970s, the housing market has been at the centre of the biggest banking crises across the world. This column considers the nexus between housing, banking, and the economy, and how these ties can be broken. It argues for two modest regulatory changes in banking and insurance. These would result in life insurers and pension funds providing mortgage finance, better insulating the economy and homeowners from the housing cycle.
Thomas Hintermaier, Winfried Koeniger, 09 January 2016
Crises of confidence turn booms into busts. Bloated household balance sheets and high debt offer the right ingredients for a confidence-driven housing bust. This column develops an analytic framework that accommodates the potential role of confidence fluctuations as a source of uncertainty in the economy. Current debt levels are shown to determine the exposure to crises of confidence. The results point to a clear role for macroprudential policy in the prevention of such crises.
Angus Armstrong, Francesco Caselli, Jagjit Chadha, Wouter den Haan, 08 July 2014
How should UK policy-makers respond to potential dangers to the economy from the housing market? As this column reports, a majority of respondents to the fourth monthly survey of the Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM) think that house price dynamics do pose a risk to the UK’s recovery; and that macroprudential tools rather than traditional interest rate policy should be deployed to deal with this risk.
Joshua Aizenman, Menzie Chinn, 15 May 2012
Might more inflation be good for the US and Europe? This column looks at the housing market in the US and argues that, with houses dropping in price, buyers are playing a waiting game. And as buyers keep delaying, the price drops further. Given the importance of property in many economies, the knock-on effects are severe. Yet one way to break this vicious cycle is with inflation.
Viral Acharya, Matthew Richardson , Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, Lawrence White, 12 May 2011
At the centre of the global financial crisis was a housing boom and bust. This column continues the description of how flaws in the US housing finance sector made the crisis inevitable. Here the authors outline a reform plan to avoid this outcome and contrast it to the US Treasury proposals.
Harry Huizinga, Luc Laeven, Reint Gropp, Stefano Corradin, 25 January 2011
For many, the US housing market was the epicentre of the global crisis. This column suggests that the US bankruptcy code, which in some cases protects a large section of the individual’s house, leads to overinvestment in housing – a bias that may have helped massage the US housing bubble in the decade preceding the global crisis.
Edward Glaeser, Joshua Gottlieb, Joseph Gyourko, 28 August 2010
The debate over the cause of the US housing boom and bust is far from concluded. This column questions the explanation that low interest rates were a critical factor, arguing that it sits uneasily alongside theories of household behaviour and historical evidence. With the causes remaining uncertain, the authors call for more research in this area.
Joseph Gyourko, Yongheng Deng, Jing Wu, 28 July 2010
Reinhart and Rogoff’s recent influential study of financial crises finds a recurring root – the country’s property markets. This column argues that a similar housing bubble may be developing in China. Urgent research is needed to determine the risk of a full blown crisis.
Agustin Bénétrix, Barry Eichengreen, Kevin O'Rourke, 21 July 2010
The world's current economic problems started when housing bubbles burst in several advanced economies. Economic recovery without housing market recovery is unlikely to be sustained. This column presents new research on the probability of housing slumps ending. There is at least a one-in-eight chance of housing slumps in the three big economies (US, Japan and Germany) ending imminently, but there is nothing approaching the same probability elsewhere. If things turn out as projected here, we may be about to have a test of the locomotive theory – whether the big economies can pull along their smaller brethren – both for housing markets and generally.
Alex Edmans, 17 July 2010
Foreclosure is often seen as a lose-lose situation. This column describes a new incentive scheme aimed at reducing strategic defaults. The Responsible Homeowner Reward, a debt-like security that only pays off if the lender is repaid in full, is being implemented in the US.
Paul van den Noord, Ralph Setzer, Guntram Wolff, 15 May 2010
The monetary policy framework in the Eurozone emphasises the role of monetary aggregates, but less so their differences across member countries. This column argues that the surveillance of national monetary developments may prove useful, as they may have been masking diverging trends at the country level which had systemic financial stability implications for the Eurozone.
Takatoshi Ito, 15 April 2010
One objection to the calls for China to let its currency appreciate argues that the yen's appreciation during the 1980s was a cause of Japan’s “lost decade”. This column instead blames policymakers for not dealing with Japan’s property bubble early enough. China should learn from these mistakes with its own property bubble and let the renminbi appreciate.
Antonio Cabrales, Juan Dolado, José García-Montalvo, 08 December 2008
Spain is in the throes of its deepest economic slump since the early eighties. Its economy suffers from weak productivity and is reliant on cheap credit. Its “dead” housing sector needs to shrink, but housing subsidies and a highly regulated labour market impede adjustment. This column proposes a series of reforms to improve the Spanish economy.