IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedbpp/10-5.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Reasonable people did disagree : optimism and pessimism about the U.S. housing market before the crash

Author

Listed:

Abstract

Understanding the evolution of real-time beliefs about house price appreciation is central to understanding the U.S. housing crisis. At the peak of the recent housing cycle, both borrowers and lenders appealed to optimistic house price forecasts to justify undertaking increasingly risky loans. Many observers have argued that these rosy forecasts ignored basic theoretical and empirical evidence that pointed to a massive overvaluation of housing and thus to an inevitable and severe price decline. We revisit the boom years and show that the economics profession provided little such countervailing evidence at the time. Many economists, skeptical that a bubble existed, attempted to justify the historic run-up in housing prices based on housing fundamentals. Other economists were more uncertain, pointing to some evidence of bubble-like behavior in certain regional housing markets. Even these more skeptical economists, however, refused to take a conclusive position on whether a bubble existed. The small number of economists who argued forcefully for a bubble often did so years before the housing market peak, and thus lost a fair amount of credibility, or they make arguments fundamentally at odds with the data even ex post. For example, some economists suggested that cities where new construction was limited by zoning regulations or geography were particularly \"bubble-prone,\" yet the data shows that the cities with the biggest gyrations in house prices were often those at the epicenter of the new construction boom. We conclude by arguing that economic theory provides little guidance as to what should be the \"correct\" level of asset prices -- including housing prices. Thus, while optimistic forecasts held by many market participants in 2005 turned out to be inaccurate, they were not ex ante unreasonable.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher L. Foote & Kristopher S. Gerardi & Paul S. Willen, 2010. "Reasonable people did disagree : optimism and pessimism about the U.S. housing market before the crash," Public Policy Discussion Paper 10-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbpp:10-5
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.bostonfed.org/economic/ppdp/2010/ppdp1005.htm
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.bostonfed.org/economic/ppdp/2010/ppdp1005.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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.
    2. Christopher Foote & Kristopher Gerardi & Lorenz Goette & Paul Willen, 2010. "Reducing Foreclosures: No Easy Answers," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2009, Volume 24, pages 89-138, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Margaret Hwang Smith & Gary Smith, 2006. "Bubble, Bubble, Where's the Housing Bubble?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 37(1), pages 1-68.
    4. Albert Saiz, 2010. "The Geographic Determinants of Housing Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1253-1296.
    5. Dean Baker, 2002. "The Run-up in Home Prices: A Bubble," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(6), pages 93-119.
    6. John Y. Campbell, Robert J. Shiller, 1988. "The Dividend-Price Ratio and Expectations of Future Dividends and Discount Factors," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 1(3), pages 195-228.
    7. Morris A. Davis & Andreas Lehnert & Robert F. Martin, 2008. "The Rent‐Price Ratio For The Aggregate Stock Of Owner‐Occupied Housing," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 54(2), pages 279-284, June.
    8. Kristopher Gerardi & Andreas Lehnert & Shane M. Sherlund & Paul Willen, 2008. "Making Sense of the Subprime Crisis," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(2 (Fall)), pages 69-159.
    9. Ernan Haruvy & Yaron Lahav & Charles N. Noussair, 2007. "Traders' Expectations in Asset Markets: Experimental Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1901-1920, December.
    10. Smith, Vernon L & Suchanek, Gerry L & Williams, Arlington W, 1988. "Bubbles, Crashes, and Endogenous Expectations in Experimental Spot Asset Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1119-1151, September.
    11. John Krainer & Chishen Wei, 2004. "House prices and fundamental value," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue oct1.
    12. Cochrane, John H, 1992. "Explaining the Variance of Price-Dividend Ratios," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(2), pages 243-280.
    13. Shiller Robert J., 2006. "Long-Term Perspectives on the Current Boom in Home Prices," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 3(4), pages 1-11, March.
    14. Jonathan McCarthy & Richard Peach, 2004. "Are home prices the next \\"bubble\\"?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Dec, pages 1-17.
    15. Cabray L. Haines & Richard J. Rosen, 2007. "Bubble, bubble, toil, and trouble," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, vol. 31(Q I), pages 16-35.
    16. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller, 2003. "Is There a Bubble in the Housing Market?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(2), pages 299-362.
    17. Reshmaan N. Hussam & David Porter & Vernon L. Smith, 2008. "Thar She Blows: Can Bubbles Be Rekindled with Experienced Subjects?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 924-937, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Martha Starr, 2012. "Contributions of Economists to the Housing-Price Bubble," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(1), pages 143-172.
    2. Glaeser, Edward L. & Nathanson, Charles G., 2017. "An extrapolative model of house price dynamics," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 147-170.
    3. Hasan Cömert, 2013. "Central Banks and Financial Markets," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14867, June.
    4. Chan, Sewin & Haughwout, Andrew & Tracy, Joseph, 2015. "How Mortgage Finance Affects the Urban Landscape," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: Gilles Duranton & J. V. Henderson & William C. Strange (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 987-1045, Elsevier.
    5. Christopher L. Foote & Kristopher S. Gerardi & Paul S. Willen, 2012. "Why did so many people make so many ex post bad decisions? the causes of the foreclosure crisis," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2012-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Baltagi, Badi H. & Li, Jing, 2015. "Cointegration of matched home purchases and rental price indexes — Evidence from Singapore," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 80-88.
    2. Itamar Caspi, 2016. "Testing for a housing bubble at the national and regional level: the case of Israel," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 483-516, September.
    3. Itamar Caspi, 2015. "Testing for a housing bubble at the national and regional level: the case of Israel," Globalization Institute Working Papers 246, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    4. Taipalus, Katja, 2012. "Detecting asset price bubbles with time-series methods," Scientific Monographs, Bank of Finland, number 2012_047.
    5. Hertrich Markus, 2019. "A Novel Housing Price Misalignment Indicator for Germany," German Economic Review, De Gruyter, vol. 20(4), pages 759-794, December.
    6. Halim, Edward & Riyanto, Yohanes Eko & Roy, Nilanjan, 2016. "Price Dynamics and Consumption Smoothing in Experimental Asset Markets," MPRA Paper 71631, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Mikhed, Vyacheslav & Zemcík, Petr, 2009. "Do house prices reflect fundamentals? Aggregate and panel data evidence," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 140-149, June.
    8. Kim, Jan R. & Lim, Gieyoung, 2016. "Fundamentals and rational bubbles in the Korean housing market: A modified present-value approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 174-181.
    9. Biljana Davidovska Stojanova & Branimir Jovanovic & Maja Kadievska Vojnovic & Gani Ramadani & Magdalena Petrovska, 2008. "Real Estate Prices In The Republic Of Macedonia," Working Papers 2008-03, National Bank of the Republic of North Macedonia.
    10. Patrick Bajari & Chenghuan Sean Chu & Minjung Park, 2008. "An Empirical Model of Subprime Mortgage Default From 2000 to 2007," NBER Working Papers 14625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Ryan Fox & Peter Tulip, 2014. "Is Housing Overvalued?," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2014-06, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    12. Gelain, Paolo & Lansing, Kevin J., 2014. "House prices, expectations, and time-varying fundamentals," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 3-25.
    13. Konstantin Kholodilin, 2015. "Speculative Bubbles in Urban Housing Markets in Germany," ERSA conference papers ersa15p67, European Regional Science Association.
    14. Garner, Thesia I. & Verbrugge, Randal, 2009. "Reconciling user costs and rental equivalence: Evidence from the US consumer expenditure survey," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 172-192, September.
    15. Khandani, Amir E. & Lo, Andrew W. & Merton, Robert C., 2013. "Systemic risk and the refinancing ratchet effect," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 29-45.
    16. Zhou, Wei-Xing & Sornette, Didier, 2008. "Analysis of the real estate market in Las Vegas: Bubble, seasonal patterns, and prediction of the CSW indices," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 387(1), pages 243-260.
    17. Yongqiang Chu, 2014. "Credit constraints, inelastic supply, and the housing boom," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(1), pages 52-69, January.
    18. Pascal Towbin & Mr. Sebastian Weber, 2015. "Price Expectations and the U.S. Housing Boom," IMF Working Papers 2015/182, International Monetary Fund.
    19. Xiaojin Sun & Kwok Ping Tsang, 2018. "The impact of monetary policy on local housing markets: Do regulations matter?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 54(3), pages 989-1015, May.
    20. Yang Hu & Les Oxley, 2017. "Exuberance in British Share Prices during the Railway Mania of the 1840s: Evidence from the Phillips, Shi and Yu Test," Working Papers in Economics 17/09, University of Waikato.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Housing - Prices;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedbpp:10-5. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/frbbous.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/frbbous.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.