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Are House Prices Nearing a Peak?: A Probit Analysis for 17 OECD Countries

House prices have been moving up strongly in real terms since the mid-1990s in the majority of OECD countries, with the ongoing upswing the longest of its kind in the OECD area since the 1970s. If interest rates were to rise significantly, real house prices may be at risk of nearing a peak. The historical record suggests that the subsequent drops in prices in real terms might be large and that the process could be protracted. To quantify the probability that a peak is nearing in the current situation a probit model was estimated for the period 1970-2005 on a restricted set of what are generally agreed to be the main explanatory variables. Aside from interest rates, these include measures of overheating, such as the gap between real house prices and their long-run trend and the rate of change in real house prices in the recent past. The main finding is that an increase in interest rates by about 1 to 2 percentage points would result in probabilities of a peak nearing of 50% or more in the United States, France, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain and Sweden. La hausse des prix des logements touche-t-elle à son terme ? : Une analyse probit pour 17 pays de l'OCDE Les prix des logements ont fortement augmenté en termes réels depuis le milieu des années 90 dans la majorité des pays de l'OCDE, et leur augmentation actuelle est la plus longue que la zone OCDE ait connue depuis les années 70. Si les taux d.intérêt venaient à augmenter ensiblement, la progression des prix réels des logements pourrait toucher à sa fin. Les évolutions passées donnent à penser que les baisses de prix qui s'ensuivraient pourraient être importantes en termes réels et que le processus d'ajustement pourrait durer un certain temps. Pour mesurer la probabilité que les prix cessent d'augmenter dans la situation actuelle, un modèle probit a été estimé sur la période 1970-2005 pour un ensemble restreint de ce que l'on considère en général comme les principales variables explicatives. En plus des taux d'intérêt, ces variables comprennent des indicateurs de surchauffe, comme l'écart entre les prix réels des logements et leur tendance de long terme, ainsi que le taux de variation des prix réels des logements au cours de la période récente. L'analyse démontre qu.une hausse de 1 ou 2 points des taux d.intérêt ferait passer à 50 % ou plus la probabilité d'un retournement du marché aux États-Unis, en France, au Danemark, en Irlande, en Nouvelle-Zélande, en Espagne et en Suède.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 488.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2006
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:488-en
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