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Leverage and House-Price Dynamics in U.S. Cities

  • Owen Lamont
  • Jeremy C. Stein

We use city-level data to analyze the relationship between homeowner borrowing patterns and house-price dynamics. Our principal finding is that in cities where a greater fraction of homeowners are highly leveraged-- i.e., have high loan-to-value ratios--house prices react more sensitively to city-specific shocks, such as changes in per-capita income. This finding is consistent with recent theories that emphasize the role of borrowing in shaping the behavior of asset prices.

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Article provided by The RAND Corporation in its journal RAND Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 30 (1999)
Issue (Month): 3 (Autumn)
Pages: 498-514

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Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:30:y:1999:i:autumn:p:498-514
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  1. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Moore, John, 1997. "Credit Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 211-48, April.
  2. Gikas A. Hardouvelis, 1989. "Margin requirements, volatility and the transitory component of stock prices," Research Paper 8909, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  3. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. " Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1343-66, September.
  4. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1989. "Agency Costs, Net Worth, and Business Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 14-31, March.
  5. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller, 1990. "Forecasting Prices and Excess Returns in the Housing Market," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 18(3), pages 253-273.
  6. Culter, D.M. & Poterba, J.M. & Summers, L.H., 1990. "Speculative Dynamics," Working papers 544, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller, 1988. "The Efficiency of the Market for Single-Family Homes," NBER Working Papers 2506, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jesse M. Abraham & Patric H. Hendershott, 1994. "Bubbles in Metropolitan Housing Markets," NBER Working Papers 4774, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Hsieh, David A & Miller, Merton H, 1990. " Margin Regulation and Stock Market Volatility," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(1), pages 3-29, March.
  10. Jeremy C. Stein, 1993. "Prices and Trading Volume in the Housing Market: A Model with Downpayment Effects," NBER Working Papers 4373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Andrew Caplin & Charles Freeman & Joseph Tracy, 1993. "Collateral Damage: How Refinancing Constraints Exacerbate Regional Recessions," NBER Working Papers 4531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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