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Speculative Bubbles in Urban Housing Markets in Germany

Listed author(s):
  • Konstantin Kholodilin

    ()

In the light of the unconventional monetary policies conducted by the majority of large central banks around the world, there is an intense debate about their potential impact on the prices of capital assets. Particularly in Germany, skepticism about the sustainability of the recent policy by the European Central Bank is widely spread and concerns about the emergence of a speculative price bubble are raised. However, studies on bubbles in house prices are scarce and provide mixed results. Moreover, the evidence on German property prices is either based on national indices, which are neglecting city-level heterogeneity, or based on a non-representative sample of cities, or refers to a time period that is relatively short. The present study analyzes a comprehensive data set covering 127 large German cities over the last 20 years. Using state-of-the-art methodology we test for speculative bubbles both at a national and at the city level. Furthermore, we apply two new testing approaches: panel data and principal components versions of Chow type explosive root tests. In addition, we use a more precise definition of a speculative bubble: We define price movements as bubbles when explosive growth of prices is not supported by explosive increases of rents. We find evidence for explosive price increases in many cities, especially for newly built housing. However, only in some urban housing markets, prices decouple from their fundamental values as represented by rents. On the national level, no speculative price movements could be detected. Overall, our findings indicate that the threat of a speculative price bubble in the German housing market is moderate. While we find first evidence for speculative bubbles in selected urban markets, our results indicate that the German housing market overall still appears to be in good condition. Only the small market segment of newly built apartments is affected by potentially speculative investment behavior. Indeed, when accumulated over the period 2009-2013, the newly built housing makes up only 2.2% of the housing stock in 2013. Our results are largely in line with the assessment of most housing market analysts who find that the German housing market is quite stable. However, while most discussants argue that there is no need to worry at all, we conclude that decision makers are well advised to have a close eye on the housing market and to keep track of regional market developments. While it is true that unlike in Spain or the United States, the boom in the German housing market is not credit driven on aggregate, this does not necessarily mean that housing lending on the regional level has not increased substantially.

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Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa15p67.

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Date of creation: Oct 2015
Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa15p67
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  6. Harding, Don & Pagan, Adrian, 2002. "Dissecting the cycle: a methodological investigation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 365-381, March.
  7. Daniel Fernández-Kranz & Mark Hon, 2006. "A Cross-Section Analysis of the Income Elasticity of Housing Demand in Spain: Is There a Real Estate Bubble?," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 32(4), pages 449-470, June.
  8. Duca, John V. & Muellbauer, John & Murphy, Anthony, 2010. "Housing markets and the financial crisis of 2007-2009: Lessons for the future," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 203-217, December.
  9. Reichert, Alan K, 1990. "The Impact of Interest Rates, Income, and Employment upon Regional Housing Prices," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 373-391, December.
  10. Ansgar Belke & Marcel Wiedmann, 2005. "Boom or Bubble in the US Real Estate Market?," Diskussionspapiere aus dem Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre der Universität Hohenheim 260/2005, Department of Economics, University of Hohenheim, Germany.
  11. Jonathan McCarthy & Richard Peach, 2004. "Are home prices the next "bubble"?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Dec, pages 1-17.
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  15. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller, 2003. "Is There a Bubble in the Housing Market?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(2), pages 299-362.
  16. Krainer, John, 2001. "A Theory of Liquidity in Residential Real Estate Markets," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 32-53, January.
  17. Philipp Meulen & Martin Micheli, 2013. "Droht eine Immobilienpreisblase in Deutschland?," Wirtschaftsdienst, Springer;German National Library of Economics, vol. 93(8), pages 539-544, August.
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  19. Claus Michelsen & Dominik Weiss, 2010. "What happened to the East German housing market? A historical perspective on the role of public funding," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(3), pages 387-409.
  20. Kivedal, Bjørnar Karlsen, 2013. "Testing for rational bubbles in the US housing market," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 38(PB), pages 369-381.
  21. Clark, Steven P. & Coggin, T. Daniel, 2011. "Was there a U.S. house price bubble? An econometric analysis using national and regional panel data," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 189-200, May.
  22. Konstantin A. Kholodilin, 2012. "Internet Offer Prices for Flats and Their Determinants: A Cross Section of Large European Cities," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1212, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
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