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  • Type: Journal Issue x
  • Economic Development: Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure x
  • Financial Institutions and Services: Government Policy and Regulation x
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Mr. Yunhui Zhao
Using zip code-level data and nonparametric estimation, I present eight stylized facts on the US housing market in the COVID-19 era. Some aggregate results are: (1) growth rate of median housing price during the four months (April-August 2020) since the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented monetary easing has accelerated faster than any four-month period in the lead-up to the 2007-09 global financial crisis; (2) the increase in housing demand in response to lower mortgage interest rates displays a structural break since March 2020 (housing demand has increased by much more than before). These results indicate either the existence of “fear of missing out” or COVID-induced fundamental changes in household behavior. In terms of distributional evidence, I find that the increase of housing demand seems more pronounced among the two ends of the income distribution, possibly reflecting relaxed liquidity constraints at the lower end and speculative demand at the higher end. I also find that the developments in housing price, demand, and supply since April 2020 are similar across urban, suburban, and rural areas. The paper highlights some potential unintended consequences of COVID-fighting policies and calls for further studies of the driving forces of the empirical findings.
Alan Xiaochen Feng
Bank competition can induce excessive risk taking due to risk shifting. This paper tests this hypothesis using micro-level U.S. mortgage data by exploiting the exogenous variation in local house price volatility. The paper finds that, in response to high expected house price volatility, banks in U.S. counties with a competitive mortgage market lowered lending standards by twice as much as those with concentrated markets between 2000 and 2005. Such risk taking pattern was associated with real economic outcomes during the financial crisis, including higher unemployment rates in local real sectors.
Richard Koss and Xinrui Shi
The sharp rise of house prices in China’s Tier-1 cities has fostered a great deal of commentary about the possibility of bubbles forming there. However, China’s unique housing market characteristics make it difficult to assess the macroeconomic severity of bursting bubbles, even if they exist. These include the setting of land supply and prices by the government, among many others. The presence of overbuilt “ghost cities” greatly complicates the ability of traditional macroeconomic policies to address these concerns. This paper looks at proposals to shore up the mortgage underwriting and legal infrastructure to help China withstand the impact of falling prices, should this occur.
Richard Koss
It has been over a decade since the peak of house prices in the US was attained, and while there has been a concerted regulatory response to the subsequent collapse, the two Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) remain in conservatorship. While this action served to forestall a deeper crisis at the time, over the past several years risks related to the system of mortgage finance can be seen building across several dimensions that need to be addressed. While reforms to the GSEs are an important part of dealing with these concerns, this paper argues that broader changes need to be made across the entire mortgage landscape to stabilize the system, even before the final state of the GSEs is fully determined.
Mr. Jiaqian Chen and Mr. Francesco Columba
We analyse the effects of macroprudential and monetary policies and their interactions using an estimated dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model tailored to Sweden. Households face a ceiling on their loan-to-value ratio and must amortize their mortgages. The government grants mortgage interest payment deductions. Lending rates are affected by mortgage risk weights. We find that demand-side macroprudential measures are more effective in curbing household debt ratios than monetary policy, and they are less costly in terms of foregone consumption. A tighter macroprudential stance is also found to be welfare improving, by promoting lower consumption volatility in response to shocks, especially when using a combination of macroprudential instruments.
Mr. Salim M. Darbar and Mr. Xiaoyong Wu
This paper presents case studies of macroprudential policy in five jurisdictions (Hong Kong SAR, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, and Sweden). The case studies describe the institutional framework, its evolution, the use of macroprudential tools, and the circumstances under which the tools have been used. The paper shows how macroprudential policy is conducted under a heterogeneous set of institutional frameworks. In all cases macroprudential tools have been used to address risks in the housing market. In addition, some of them have moved to enhance the resilience of their banks to more general cyclical and structural risks.
Mr. Eugenio M Cerutti, Jihad Dagher, and Mr. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia
The recent global crisis highlighted the risks stemming from real estate booms. This has generated a growing literature trying to better understand the sources and the risks associated with housing and credit booms. This paper complements and supplements the previous work by (i) exploiting more disaggregated data on credit allowing us to dissociate between firm-credit and household (and in some cases mortgage) credit, and (ii) by taking into account the characteristics of the mortgage market, including institutional as well as other factors that vary across countries. This detailed cross-country analysis offers new valuable insights.
Mr. Ivo Krznar and Mr. James Morsink
The goal of this paper is to assess the effectiveness of the policy measures taken by Canadian authorities to address the housing boom. We find that the the last three rounds of macroprudential policies implemented since 2010 were associated with lower mortgage credit growth and house price growth. The international experience suggests that—in addition to tighter loan-to-value limits and shorter amortization periods—lower caps on the debt-to-income ratio and higher risk weights could be effective if the housing boom were to reignite. Over the medium term, the authorities could consider structural measures to further improve the soundness of housing finance.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper elaborates findings and discussions of 2013 Cluster Consultation Nordic Regional report. The countries have close economic and financial ties and face some common challenges and shared risks, such as large banking sectors and high household debt. The economic performance of the four continental Nordic economies (Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden—Nordic-4) ranks among the advanced economic development circle. It is analyzed that the large Nordic banking systems support relatively high levels of private sector debt. House price developments in the Nordic-4 pose a risk to broader macroeconomic stability in the context of strained household balance sheets.
Ms. Deniz O Igan and Mr. Heedon Kang
With another real estate boom-bust bringing woes to the world economy, a quest for a better policy toolkit to deal with these boom-busts has begun. Macroprudential measures could be in such a toolkit. Yet, we know very little about their impact. This paper takes a step to fill this gap by analyzing the Korean experience with these measures. We find that loan-to-value and debt-to-income limits are associated with a decline in house price appreciation and transaction activity. Furthermore, the limits alter expectations, which play a key role in bubble dynamics.