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What happens to banks when house prices fall? U.S. regional housing busts of the 1980s and 1990s

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  • David C. Wheelock

Abstract

The recent rapid appreciation of house prices in many U.S. markets has prompted concern over the possible effects of a sharp decline in prices, especially for commercial banks and other real estate lenders. This article examines regional real estate booms and busts in the 1980s and 1990s: Only about half of state house price booms were followed by a severe decline in prices, but large declines occurred in several states that did not have a prior boom. Banks in states that had large house price declines experienced high loan default rates and, thus, low profit and high failure rates. Although U.S. banks may have become more exposed to residential real estate recently, they appear less vulnerable to a decline in house prices than banks in states with large price declines in the earlier period.

Suggested Citation

  • David C. Wheelock, 2006. "What happens to banks when house prices fall? U.S. regional housing busts of the 1980s and 1990s," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 413-430.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:y:2006:i:sep:p:413-430:n:v.88no.5
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    1. Charles Himmelberg & Christopher Mayer & Todd Sinai, 2005. "Assessing High House Prices: Bubbles, Fundamentals and Misperceptions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 67-92, Fall.
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    3. Alan Greenspan, 2004. "Risk and Uncertainty in Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 33-40, May.
    4. Malpezzi, Stephen, 1999. "A Simple Error Correction Model of House Prices," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 27-62, March.
    5. Joe Peek & Eric S. Rosengren, 1992. "The capital crunch in New England," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue May, pages 21-31.
    6. Nathalie Girouard & Mike Kennedy & Paul van den Noord & Christophe André, 2006. "Recent House Price Developments: The Role of Fundamentals," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 475, OECD Publishing.
    7. Joshua H. Gallin, 2004. "The long-run relationship between house prices and rents," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-50, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    Cited by:

    1. Craig P. Aubuchon & David C. Wheelock, 2010. "The geographic distribution and characteristics of U.S. bank failures, 2007-2010: do bank failures still reflect local economic conditions?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 395-415.
    2. William R. Emmons, 2008. "The mortgage crisis: let markets work, but compensate the truly needy," The Regional Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 10-16.
    3. Chad R. Wilkerson & Megan D. Williams, 2011. "Booms and busts in household wealth: implications for Tenth District states," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q II.
    4. Zohrabyan, Tatevik & Leatham, David J. & Bessler, David A., 2008. "Cointegration Analysis of Regional House Prices in U.S," Proceedings: 2007 Agricultural and Rural Finance Markets in Transition, October 4-5, 2007, St. Louis, Missouri 48138, Regional Research Committee NC-1014: Agricultural and Rural Finance Markets in Transition.
    5. Yang Hu & Les Oxley, 2016. "Bubbles in US Regional House Prices: Evidence from House Price/Income Ratios at the State Level," Working Papers in Economics 16/06, University of Waikato.
    6. Nneji, Ogonna & Brooks, Chris & Ward, Charles W.R., 2013. "House price dynamics and their reaction to macroeconomic changes," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 172-178.

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    Keywords

    Housing - Prices;

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