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Mortgage Debt, Social Customs,and Financial Innovation

  • Michael Haliassos


    (Goethe University, Frankfurt)

  • Pany Karamanou


    (Central Bank of Cyprus)

  • Constantinos Ktoris


    (Central Bank of Cyprus)

  • George Syrichas


    (Central Bank of Cyprus)

Although housing can be a powerful channel of monetary policy transmission this channel can be weakened by social customs and financial liberalization as well as accompanying innovation that create alternatives to bank mortgages controlled by a central bank. This paper utilizes some unique questions in the 1999 and 2002 Cyprus Surveys of Consumer Finances, as well as data from the 1998 and 2001 US Surveys of Consumer Finances, in order to study the role of social customs (in the form of parental housing gifts) and financial liberalization for the incidence of homeownership rates, mortgage debt and borrowing constraints. Unlike existing studies of financially developed countries, the data from the Cyprus Surveys suggest that only a very small proportion of Cypriot households are credit constrained and that a number of important economic characteristics of the household are irrelevant for homeownership and for the use of mortgages. Our findings suggest that the presence of such customs may interfere with the monetary transmission mechanism by limiting the sensitivity of housing investment to changes in credit market conditions. Financial liberalization leading to innovation could work in the opposite direction if it leads to increased household participation in formal loans controlled by the central bank.

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Paper provided by Central Bank of Cyprus in its series Working Papers with number 2008-2.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cyb:wpaper:2008-2
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  1. Chiuri, Maria Concetta & Jappelli, Tullio, 2001. "Financial Market Imperfections and Home Ownership: A Comparative Study," CEPR Discussion Papers 2717, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Georgia Antoniou & Christiana Argyridou & Michael Haliassos & Alex Karagrigoriou & George Kyriacou & Michalis C. Michael & Maria Papagheorgiou & George Syrichas, 2004. "Assets and Debts of Cyprus Households: Changes between the 1999 and 2002 Cyprus Surveys of Consumer Finances," Working Papers 0412, Central Bank of Cyprus.
  3. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio, 1998. "Private Transfers, Borrowing Constraints and the Timing of Homeownership," CEPR Discussion Papers 2050, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Massimo Giuliodori, 2005. "The Role Of House Prices In The Monetary Transmission Mechanism Across European Countries," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 52(4), pages 519-543, 09.
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  7. Aoki, Kosuke & Proudman, James & Vlieghe, Gertjan, 2004. "House prices, consumption, and monetary policy: a financial accelerator approach," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 414-435, October.
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  10. Frederic S. Mishkin, 2001. "The Transmission Mechanism and the Role of Asset Prices in Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 8617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Fumio Hayashi, 1982. "The Effect of Liquidity Constraints on Consumption: A Cross-Sectional Analysis," NBER Working Papers 0882, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Michael Haliassos & Christis Hassapis & Alex Karagrigoriou & George Kyriacou & George Syrichas & Michalis C. Michael, 2001. "Assets of Cyprus Households: Lessons from the first Cyprus Survey of Consumer Finances," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 0205, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
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  16. Irene de Greef & Ralph de Haas, 2002. "Housing Prices, Bank Lending, and Monetary Policy," Macroeconomics 0209010, EconWPA.
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