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Monetary Policy and House Prices: A Cross-Country Study

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  • Alan G. Ahearne
  • John Ammer
  • Brian M. Doyle
  • Linda S. Kole
  • Robert F. Martin

Abstract

This paper examines periods of pronounced rises and falls of real house prices since 1970 in eighteen major industrial countries, with particular focus on the lessons for monetary policy. We find that real house prices are pro-cyclical—comoving with real GDP, consumption, investment, CPI inflation, budget and current account balances, and output gaps. House price booms are typically preceded by a period of easing monetary policy, but then diminishing slack and rising inflation lead monetary authorities to begin tightening policy before house prices peak. In a careful reading of official reports, speeches, and minutes, we find little evidence that foreign central banks have reacted to past episodes of rising real house prices beyond taking into account their implications for inflation and output growth. However, central bankers have expressed a range of opinions in the more recent policy debate with some willing in certain cases to raise policy rates to try to stem current and future surges in asset prices while others favor moral suasion or a hands-off approach. Finally, we characterize the risks associated with house-price reversals. Although mortgage lenders in some countries have significant exposure to house prices, the balance of evidence suggests that this exposure does not, in and of itself, pose a significant risk to financial stability. Nevertheless, the co-movement of both property prices and default rates with the business cycle means that losses on mortgage lending are likely to be higher when banks’ other lines of business are also performing poorly.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan G. Ahearne & John Ammer & Brian M. Doyle & Linda S. Kole & Robert F. Martin, 2005. "Monetary Policy and House Prices: A Cross-Country Study," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 344, Central Bank of Chile.
  • Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:344
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrés, Javier & Boscá, José E. & Ferri, Javier, 2013. "Household debt and labor market fluctuations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 1771-1795.
    2. Rangan Gupta & Marius Jurgilas & Alain Kabundi & Stephen M. Miller, 2011. "Monetary policy and housing sector dynamics in a large-scale Bayesian vector autoregressive model," International Journal of Strategic Property Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 1-20, August.
    3. Changrong Deng & Yongkai Ma & Yao-Min Chiang, 2009. "The Dynamic Behavior of Chinese Housing Prices," International Real Estate Review, Asian Real Estate Society, vol. 12(2), pages 121-134.
    4. Li, Ying-Syuan & Li, Yiting, 2013. "Liquidity and asset prices: A new monetarist approach," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(4), pages 426-438.
    5. Christophe André, 2010. "A Bird's Eye View of OECD Housing Markets," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 746, OECD Publishing.
    6. Rangan Gupta & Stephen M. Miller & Dylan van Wyk, 2010. "Financial Market Liberalization, Monetary Policy, and Housing Price Dynamics," Working papers 2010-06, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    7. Myftari, Entela & Rossi, Sergio, 2010. "Prix des actifs et politique monétaire : enjeux et perspectives après la crise financière de 2007-2009," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 86(3), pages 355-383, septembre.
    8. Gochoco-Bautista, Maria Socorro, 2008. "Asset booms and fat tails in East Asia: Symmetric or asymmetric risks?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 1617-1640, December.
    9. Hjalmarsson, Erik, 2007. "Fully modified estimation with nearly integrated regressors," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 92-94, June.
    10. Jinjarak, Yothin & Sheffrin, Steven M., 2011. "Causality, real estate prices, and the current account," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 233-246, June.
    11. Horst Gischer & Mirko Weiß, 2007. "Entwicklung der Immobilienpreise im Euroraum: Bestandsaufnahme und makroökonomische Konsequenzen," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 60(19), pages 27-42, October.
    12. Andrés Sagner, 2009. "Determinantes del Precio de Viviendas en Chile," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 549, Central Bank of Chile.
    13. Vargas-Silva, Carlos, 2008. "Monetary policy and the US housing market: A VAR analysis imposing sign restrictions," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 977-990, September.

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