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The Stability of the German Housing Market

  • Voigtländer, Michael

The last decade has been marked by cycles of excessive boom and bust in the housing market. However, not all countries have experienced high volatility in their house prices. Indeed, Germany has been unique in retaining flat price levels over the whole period and failing to respond to any of the macroeconomic shocks. The main reason for this stability can be found in real estate finance and in the existence of a sophisticated rental market. While in other countries monetary stimuli are effectively transmitted to the real economy via the housing market, the German insistence on prudential lending isolates the housing market from financial market distortions. By demanding high deposits, aligning lending to the mortgage lending value instead of the market value and by offering predominantly fixed-rate mortgages, banks reduce the risk of defaults and thus contribute to stability in the market. This system has evolved as a result not of regulations but of a sophisticated rental market which enables households to save their own funds for house purchases. This, in turn, explains the preference for fixed-rate mortgages.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 43315.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:43315
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  1. Frederic S. Mishkin, 2007. "Housing and the monetary transmission mechanism," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 359-413.
  2. Maria Concetta Chiuri & Tullio Jappelli, 2000. "Financial Market Imperfections and Home Ownership: A Comparative Study," CSEF Working Papers 44, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 01 Dec 2000.
  3. Kai Carstensen & Oliver Hülsewig & Timo Wollmershäuser, 2009. "Monetary Policy Transmission and House Prices: European Cross-country Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 2750, CESifo Group Munich.
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  7. Matteo Iacoviello, 2002. "House prices, borrowing constraints and monetary policy in the business cycle," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 542, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 06 Dec 2004.
  8. Reinold, Kate, 2011. "Housing equity withdrawal since the financial crisis," Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, Bank of England, vol. 51(2), pages 127-133.
  9. Bjørnland, Hilde C. & Jacobsen, Dag Henning, 2010. "The role of house prices in the monetary policy transmission mechanism in small open economies," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 218-229, December.
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  12. George A. Akerlof, 2009. "How Human Psychology Drives the Economy and Why It Matters," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1175-1175.
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