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Household borrowing and metropolitan housing price dynamics - Empirical evidence from Helsinki

  • Oikarinen, Elias

This article argues that, especially in the absence of sufficient direct data on credit constraints, it is reasonable to add a household debt variable in an empirical model studying housing price dynamics. This is because household borrowing is likely to reveal information regarding the credit constraints faced by households. Moreover, debt may also give information on expected income growth and interest rate movements. The aim of this study is to examine empirically if household borrowing data, indeed, is of importance in a dynamic housing price model. In line with the prior expectations, it is found that housing appreciation in the Helsinki Metropolitan area is Granger caused by the household debt-to-GDP ratio both in the short and in the long run. Causality from the housing market to credit, in turn, seems to run only through a cointegrating long-run relation. While the estimated long-run relation between housing prices, income and debt-to-GDP ratio appears to have remained stable through the sample period (1975Q1-2006Q2), the short-run dynamics changed somewhat due to the financial liberalization in the late 1980s. The stability of the long-run relation implies that the loan data are able to cater, at least to a notable extent, for the effect of the changes in Finnish households' liquidity constraints on housing demand. In line with previous literature, it is also found that housing price adjustment is sluggish and includes notable backward-looking features.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Housing Economics.

Volume (Year): 18 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 126-139

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhouse:v:18:y:2009:i:2:p:126-139
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622881

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