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The Foreclosure-House Price Nexus: Lessons from the 2007-2008 Housing Turmoil

  • Charles W. Calomiris
  • Stanley D. Longhofer
  • William Miles

Despite housing's importance to the economy and worries about recent financial and economic turmoil traceable to housing market difficulties, little has been written on how distress in the housing market, measured by foreclosures, affects home prices, or how these variables interact with other macroeconomic or housing variables such as employment, housing permits or sales. Employing a panel VAR model to examine quarterly state-level data, our paper is the first to systematically analyze these interactions. There is substantial regional variation across states, which facilitates our ability to identify linkages among variables. Importantly, price-foreclosure linkages work in both directions; foreclosures have a significant, negative effect on home prices, while an increase in prices alleviates distress by lowering foreclosures. Similarly, employment and foreclosures have mutually negative effects on each other. The impact of foreclosures on prices, while negative and significant, is quite small in magnitude. We demonstrate this by simulating house price changes in response to extreme foreclosure shocks. Even under extremely pessimistic scenarios for foreclosure shocks, average U.S. house prices, as measured by the comprehensive OFHEO house price index (which we argue is the most reliable and useful measure of house prices to use for our purposes), likely would decline only slightly or remain essentially flat in response to foreclosures like those predicted for the 2008-2009 period. This suggests that home prices are quite sticky, and that fears of a major fall in house prices, with all of its attendant negative macroeconomic consequences, typically are not warranted even in extreme foreclosure circumstances.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14294.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14294
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  1. Karl E. Case, John M. Quigley, Robert J. Shiller., 2001. "Comparing Wealth Effects: The Stock Market versus The Housing Market," Economics Working Papers E01-308, University of California at Berkeley.
  2. Richard K. Green, 1997. "Follow the Leader: How Changes in Residential and Non-residential Investment Predict Changes in GDP," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 25(2), pages 253-270.
  3. Love, Inessa & Zicchino, Lea, 2006. "Financial development and dynamic investment behavior: Evidence from panel VAR," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 190-210, May.
  4. DiPasquale Denise & Wheaton William C., 1994. "Housing Market Dynamics and the Future of Housing Prices," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 1-27, January.
  5. William H. Rogers & William Winter, 2009. "The Impact of Foreclosures on Neighboring Housing Sales," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 31(4), pages 455-480.
  6. Arellano, Manuel & Bover, Olympia, 1995. "Another look at the instrumental variable estimation of error-components models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 29-51, July.
  7. Anari, Ali & Kolari, James & Mason, Joseph, 2005. "Bank Asset Liquidation and the Propagation of the U.S. Great Depression," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(4), pages 753-73, August.
  8. Edward E. Leamer, 2007. "Housing is the business cycle," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 149-233.
  9. Gauger, Jean & Snyder, Tricia Coxwell, 2003. "Residential Fixed Investment and the Macroeconomy: Has Deregulation Altered Key Relationships?," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 335-54, November.
  10. N. Edward Coulson & Christian Richard, 1996. "The Dynamic Impact of Unseasonable Weather on Construction Activity," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 24(2), pages 179-194.
  11. Jim Clayton & Norman Miller & Liang Peng, 2010. "Price-volume Correlation in the Housing Market: Causality and Co-movements," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 14-40, January.
  12. N. Edward Coulson & Myeong-Soo Kim, 2000. "Residential Investment, Non-residential Investment and GDP," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 28(2), pages 233-247.
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