Friday, October 19, 2007

House prices and the stance of monetary policy

A new paper provides further evidence on a view (see here, here, and here) promoted by this blog: past monetary profligacy contributed to the U.S. housing boom-bust cycle. Marek Jarociński and Frank Smets of the European Central Bank in a conference paper titled House Prices and the Stance of Monetary Policy find the following:

In this paper, we have examined the role of housing investment and house prices in US business cycles since the second half of the 1980s using an identified Bayesian VAR... There is also evidence that monetary policy has significant effects on residential investment and house prices and that easy monetary policy designed to stave off perceived risks of deflation in 2002 to 2004 has contributed to the boom in the housing market in 2004 and 2005.

I wrote a similar note on U.S. monetary policy and the U.S. housing boom. In my note, though, I use a different measure of monetary policy than the paper above and discuss the issue from a more Wicksellian perspective. Nonetheless, the conclusions are essentially the same: the Fed was too accommodative during the "deflation scare" 2002-2003 and was slow to return to normalcy thereafter.

1 comment:

  1. Spain, Australia and the UK (and maybe others I dont know about) have also experienced housing booms in recent years, so its not just the US. It would be interesting to test the monetary profligacy hypothesis for other countries.