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What Drives House Price Cycles? International Experience and Policy Issues


  • John V. Duca
  • John Muellbauer
  • Anthony Murphy


The role of real estate during the global financial and economic crisis has prompted efforts to better incorporate housing and financial channels into macro models, improve housing models, develop macroprudential tools, and reform the financial system. This article provides an overview of major, recent contributions to the literature in relation to earlier research on what drives housing prices and how they affect economic activity. Particularly emphasized are studies, both theoretical and more strongly evidence-based, that connect housing markets with credit markets, house price expectations, financial stability, and the wider economy. The literature reveals much diversity in the international and regional behavior of house prices and the need to improve data tracking key housing supply and demand influences. Also reviewed are studies examining how monetary, macroprudential, and other policies affect house prices and access to housing. This survey is designed to help readers navigate the plethora of recent studies and understand the unsettled issues and avenues for further research. The findings should be of interest to policy makers concerned with financial stability as well as those dealing with the role of housing in the wider economy.

Suggested Citation

  • John V. Duca & John Muellbauer & Anthony Murphy, 2021. "What Drives House Price Cycles? International Experience and Policy Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 59(3), pages 773-864, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:59:y:2021:i:3:p:773-864
    DOI: 10.1257/jel.20201325

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    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets


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