REITs, interest rates and stock prices in Malaysia
This paper examines the dynamic linkages between real estate investment trusts (REITs), which are a proxy for investment in real estate, interest rates and stock prices in Malaysia over the period 2006 to 2009. Two mechanisms have been proposed to interpret the relationship between investment in real estate and stocks. The first is the wealth effect, which states that investors with unanticipated gains in share prices will invest in real estate. The second is the credit-price effect, which states that if real estate prices increase, firms holding commercial real estate will have large unrealized capital gains, meaning that investors will bid up the equity value of the firm. This suggests that the housing market will lead the stock market. Over the period 2006 to 2009, real estate and stock prices have surged in tandem in Malaysia. We find evidence of a wealth effect in the short-run, while in the long-run for some REITs we find support for the wealth effect, while for others we find evidence of feedback effects between real estate and stocks. This finding is consistent with a spiralling upturn in both prices and provides support for both effects operating together. The results lend support to concerns that the Malaysian real estate market is characterized by an asset bubble and that a decline in the stock market could burst the Malaysian real estate bubble.
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