Business and Economics > Real Estate

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Mr. Tamim Bayoumi and Mr. Yunhui Zhao
Housing is by far the most important asset in Chinese households’ balance sheets. However, despite forceful and frequent government interventions, the rise in Chinese housing prices has not been contained as much as intended, a trend that has not been reversed by the COVID-19 shock. In this paper, we first provide some stylized facts and then a DSGE model (encompassing both demand and supply channels) to highlight the impact of a “slow-moving” structural vulnerability—financial market incompleteness—on China’s housing prices. The model implies that to eradicate the root causes of the rising housing price, policymakers need to go beyond the housing market itself; instead, it would be desirable to deepen financial markets because these markets would help channel financial resources to productive sectors rather than to housing speculation. This is particularly important in the COVID era because without addressing this structural vulnerability, the higher household savings and the government stimulus may fuel the housing bubble and sow seeds for a future crisis. The paper can also shed light on the housing markets in other economies that face similar vulnerabilities.
Giancarlo Corsetti, Joao B. Duarte, and Samuel Mann
We study the transmission of monetary shocks across euro-area countries using a dynamic factor model and high-frequency identification. We develop a methodology to assess the degree of heterogeneity, which we find to be low in financial variables and output, but significant in consumption, consumer prices, and variables related to local housing and labor markets. Building a small open economy model featuring a housing sector and calibrating it to Spain, we show that varying the share of adjustable-rate mortgages and loan-to-value ratios explains up to one-third of the cross-country heterogeneity in the responses of output and private consumption.
Mr. Jiaqian Chen, Daria Finocchiaro, Jesper Lindé, and Karl Walentin
We examine the effects of various borrower-based macroprudential tools in a New Keynesian environment where both real and nominal interest rates are low. Our model features long-term debt, housing transaction costs and a zero-lower bound constraint on policy rates. We find that the long-term costs, in terms of forgone consumption, of all the macroprudential tools we consider are moderate. Even so, the short-term costs differ dramatically between alternative tools. Specifically, a loan-to-value tightening is more than twice as contractionary compared to loan-to-income tightening when debt is high and monetary policy cannot accommodate.
Mr. Fei Han, Ms. Emilia M Jurzyk, Wei Guo, Yun He, and Ms. Nadia Rendak
High household indebtedness could constrain future consumption growth and increase financial stability risks. This paper uses household survey data to analyze both macroeconomic and finanical stability risks from the rapidly rising household debt in China. We find that rising household indebtedness could boost consumption in the short term, while reducing it in the medium-to-long term. By stress testing households’ debt repayment capacity, we find that low-income households are most vulnerable to adverse income shocks which could lead to signficant defaults. Containing these risks would call for a strengthening of systemic risk assessment and macroprudential policies of the household sector. Other policies include improving the credit registry system and establishing a well-functioning personal insolvency framework.
Carlos Caceres
This paper analyzes the existence of “wealth effects” derived from net equity (in the form of housing, financial assets, and total net worth) on consumption. The study uses longitudinal household-level data?from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) ?covering about 7,000-9,000 households in the U.S., with the estimations carried over the period 1999-2017. Overall, wealth effects are found to be relatively large and significant for housing wealth, but less so for other types of wealth, including stocks. Furthermore, the analysis shows how these estimated marginal propensities to consume (MPC) from wealth are closely linked to household characteristics, including income and demographic factors. Finally, underlying structural changes in household characteristics point to potentially lower aggregate MPCs from wealth going forward.
Ms. Elena Loukoianova, Yu Ching Wong, and Ioana Hussiada
This paper discusses the evolution of the household debt in Australia and finds that while higher-income and higher-wealth households tend to have higher debt, lower-income households may become more vulnerable to rising debt service over time. Then, the paper analyzes the impact of a monetary policy shock on households’ current consumption and durable expenditures depending on the level of household debt. The results corroborate other work that households’ response to monetary policy shocks depends on their debt and income levels. In particular, households with higher debt tend to reduce their current consumption and durable expenditures more than other households in response to a contractionary monetary policy shocks. However, households with low debt may not respond to monetary policy shocks, as they hold more interest-earning assets.
Weicheng Lian
This paper separates the roles of demand for housing services and belief about future house prices in a house price cycle, by utilizing a feature of user-cost-of-housing that it is sensitive to demand for housing services only. Optimality conditions of producing housing services determine user-cost-of-housing and the elasticity of substitution between land and structures in producing housing services. I find that the impact of demand for housing services on house prices is amplified by a small elasticity of substitution, and demand explained four fifths of the U.S. house price boom in the 2000s.
Ding Ding and Weicheng Lian
In this paper we analyze the fundamental drivers of China’s residential investment as a share of its GDP. Our analysis indicates that the economic structural changes that led to rebalancing toward consumption were the key driver of the rising residential investment to GDP ratio in China. We project that residential investment would moderate from the current level of 9 percent of GDP to around 6 percent by 2024, and its contribution to real GDP growth would decline gradually from currently about half percent of GDP to slightly negative over this period, barring policy intervention. The decline in the growth contribution of residential investment reflects the projected somewhat slower pace of rebalancing going forward and the envisaged increases in labor costs due to demographic changes.
Mr. Troy D Matheson
Housing market imbalances are a key source of systemic risk and can adversely affect housing affordability. This paper utilizes a stylized model of the Canadian economy that includes policymakers with differing objectives—macroeconomic stability, financial stability, and housing affordability. Not surprisingly, when faced with multiple objectives, deploying more policy instruments can lead to better outcomes. The results show that macroprudential policy can be more effective than policies based on adjusting propertytransfer taxes because property-tax policy entails excessive volatility in tax rates. They also show that if property-transfer taxes are used as a policy instrument, taxes targeted at a broader-set of homebuyers can be more effective than measures targeted at a smaller subset of homebuyers, such as nonresident homebuyers.