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International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This issue of the IMF Research Bulletin opens with a letter from the new editor, Rabah Arezki. The Research Summaries are a "Primer on 'Global Liquidity'" (Eugenio Cerutti, Stijn Claessens, and Lev Ratnovski); and "Trade Integration adn Business Cycle Synchronization" (Kevin Cheng, Romain Duval, and Dulani Senevirante). The Q&A column looks at "Seven Questions on the Global Housing Markets" (Hites Ahir, Heedon Kang, and Prakash Loungani). September 2014 issue of the Bulletin also includes updates on IMF Working Papers, Staff Discussion Notes, and Recommended Readings from the IMF Bookstore, as well as special announcements on new staff publications and the Fifteenth Annual Jacques Polak Research Conference. Also included is information on the latest issue of “IMF Economic Review” with a link to an article by Paul Krugman.
Mr. Philippe Bracke
This paper analyzes the duration of house price upturns and downturns in the last 40 years for 19 OECD countries. I provide two sets of results, one pertaining to the average length and the other to the length distribution. On average, upturns are longer than downturns, but the difference disappears once the last house price boom is excluded. In terms of length distribution, upturns (but not downturns) are more likely to end as their duration increases. This duration dependence is consistent with a boom-bust view of house price dynamics, where booms represent departures from fundamentals that are increasingly difficult to sustain.
Samya Beidas-Strom, Weicheng Lian, and Ashwaq Maseeh
This paper examines housing finance and housing price dynamics in selected emerging Middle Eastern economies over the past two decades. It finds that (i) mortgage markets have experienced rapid development, which has led to lower private per capita consumer spending volatility this decade; (ii) a downward price correction occurred in the housing market after 2007, which appears to have bottomed out; (iii) the rental market appears to be largely determined by region-specific economic fundamentals-a youthful working-age population and wealth variables; and (iv) a segregation between self-owned house and rental price dynamics exists in this region, rendering the former more sensitive to the business cycle.
Mr. Calvin Schnure
Why are housing markets so prone to boom-bust cycles? The mortgage market structure prior to the Savings and Loan crisis contributed to the volatility in real housing activity which, in turn, amplified the volatility in housing prices. The subsequent development of a national, market-based system of securitized mortgage finance has damped this boom-bust cycle. We test whether deviations of actual housing prices from values forecast by a model based on economic fundamentals have responded to the change in financial structure, and find that pricing errors have fallen significantly since the mid-1980s. Tests of the relative importance of the change in financial market structure versus the reduction of inflation over this period indicate a primary role for market structure in improving pricing efficiency.