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House Prices and Economic Activity

  • Nathalie Girouard
  • Sveinbjörn Blöndal

This paper reviews the role of house prices in influencing private consumption and residential investment in OECD countries. Deregulation of the mortgage markets in most OECD countries since the 1970s has made it easier for households to borrow for current consumption on the basis of their housing wealth, and the easing of borrowing constraints has often been accompanied by sizeable withdrawal of housing equity. The analysis presented in the paper and a review of existing empirical work for the major OECD countries suggest that house prices have a significant positive impact on private consumption through wealth effects and/or an easing of liquidity constraints. House prices also influence the profitability of house building, and in many countries there is a close association between profitability of house construction and private residential investment. A corollary of these results is that residential property prices can be useful indicators of demand pressures in the economy ... Ce document examine dans quelle mesure les prix des logements influencent la consommation privée et l’investissement résidentiel dans les pays de l’OCDE. Depuis les années 1970, la déréglementation des marchés hypothécaires dans de nombreux pays de l’OCDE a allégé les contraintes visant les emprunts des ménages pour la consommation courante en fonction de leur situation de patrimoine. L’accès élargi des ménages au crédit a souvent été accompagné de prélèvements massifs sur la valeur immobilière. De l’analyse présentée dans cette étude et de la description des travaux empiriques existant pour les principaux pays de l’OCDE, il ressort une incidence significative et positive des prix des logements sur la consommation privée à travers des effets de richesse et/ou par suite d’un assouplissement des contraintes de liquidité. Les prix immobiliers influencent aussi la rentabilité de la construction de logements et dans plusieurs pays, il existe un lien étroit entre l’indicateur de ...

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/061034430132
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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 279.

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Date of creation: 26 Jan 2001
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:279-en
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  1. Freedman, C., 1998. "The Canadian Banking System," Technical Reports 81, Bank of Canada.
  2. Ogawa, K. & Kitasaka, S.I. & Yamaoka, H. & Iwata, Y., 1995. "An Empirical Re-Evaluation of Wealth Effect in Japanese Household Behavior," ISER Discussion Paper 0382, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
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  13. Peter J. Brady & Glenn B. Canner & Dean M. Maki, 2000. "The effects of recent mortgage refinancing," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jul, pages 441-450.
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