Financial Business Cycles
Using Bayesian methods, I estimate a DSGE model where a recession is initiated by losses suffered by banks and exacerbated by their inability to extend credit to the real sector. The event triggering the recession has the workings of a redistribution shock: a small sector of the economy -- borrowers who use their home as collateral -- defaults on their loans. When banks hold little equity in excess of regulatory requirements, the losses require them to react immediately, either by recapitalizing or by deleveraging. By deleveraging, banks transform the initial shock into a credit crunch, and, ...
Housing affordability: recommendations for new research to guide policy
This article highlights areas where economic research is needed to guide federal policymakers addressing the challenge of improving housing affordability. The author places these research recommendations in the framework of five key issues, reflecting policymakers? need to identify a rationale for government action; to employ a single, clear measure to gauge affordability; to understand the unintended consequences of current housing policies; to ensure that the political environment is considered when developing policy; and to decide whether to use housing finance reform as a means of ...
How Will Affordable Rental Housing Be Preserved?
Affordable rental housing for low- and moderate-income individuals and families is increasingly scarce. Housing finance agencies, nonprofits, and policymakers agree that existing affordable rental housing must be preserved despite formidable complex obstacles in achieving this goal. This article focuses on challenges in rental housing preservation and discusses the programs and perspectives of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA), and the Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA).
Homeowner Balance Sheets and Monetary Policy
This paper empirically identifies an important channel through which monetary policy affects consumer spending: homeowner balance sheets. A monetary loosening increases home values, thereby strengthening homeowner balance sheets and stimulating household spending due to a combination of collateral and wealth effects. The magnitude of these effects on a given household depends on local housing market characteristics such as local geography and regulation. Cities with the largest geographic and regulatory barriers to new construction see 3-4 percent responses in real house prices compared with ...
Introducing the SCE Housing Survey
In February 2014, we administered a survey on housing-related issues to the Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) panelists. Our primary goal was to secure rich and high-quality information on consumers? experiences and expectations regarding housing. The survey, among other things, collected data on households? perceptions and expectations of the growth in home prices, their intentions regarding moving or buying a new home, and their access to credit. In addition, for homeowners, we collected detailed information on their mortgage debt, past experiences such as foreclosure or refinancing, ...
Subprime May Not Have Caused the 2000s Housing Crisis: Evidence from Cleveland, Ohio
During the 2000s housing bust, Cleveland’s Slavic Village was dubbed “ground zero of the foreclosure crisis” by the national media. Despite this, during the preceding housing boom Cleveland had stable house price growth and relatively low mortgage debt growth, a stark contrast to circumstances in areas such as California that had exceptionally high house price and mortgage debt growth. What explains the relatively minor housing boom and perceived sharp downturn in Cleveland? In this Commentary I show that while subprime debt was a prominent source of debt in Cleveland and especially in ...
Coalition Helps Returning Citizens Move from Corrections to Communities
A number of state and local agencies in Pennsylvania are partnering to support the successful transition of ex-offenders who are returning to communities. This partnership ensures compliance with parole and supervised release requirements and makes meaningful connections to housing, training, and employment that can help reduce the likelihood of reoffense.
Crisis Chronicles: The Hamburg Crisis of 1799 and How Extreme Winter Weather Still Disrupts the Economy
With intermittent war raging across much of Western Europe near the end of the eighteenth century, by about 1795, Hamburg had replaced Amsterdam as an important hub for commodities trade. And from 1795 to 1799, Hamburg boomed. Prices for goods increased, the harbor was full, and warehouses were bulging. But when a harsh winter iced over the harbor, excess demand and speculation drove up prices. By spring, demand proved lower than supply, and prices started falling, credit tightened, and the decline in prices accelerated. So when a ship bound for Hamburg laden with gold sunk off the coast, an ...
Regressive Welfare Effects of Housing Bubbles
We analyze the welfare effects of asset bubbles in a model with income inequality and financial friction. We show that a bubble that emerges in the value of housing, a durable asset that is fundamentally useful for everyone, has regressive welfare effects. By raising the housing price, the bubble benefits high-income savers but negatively affects low-income borrowers. The key intuition is that, by creating a bubble in the market price, savers' demand for the housing asset for investment purposes imposes a negative externality on borrowers, who only demand the housing asset for utility ...
Mortgage Rates Decline and (Prime) Households Take Advantage
Today, the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data reported that household debt balances increased by $206 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020, marking a $414 billion increase since the end of 2019. But the COVID pandemic and ensuing recession have marked an end to the dynamics in household borrowing that have characterized the expansion since the Great Recession, which included robust growth in auto and student loans, while mortgage and credit card balances grew more slowly. As the pandemic took hold, these dynamics were altered. One shift in 2020 was a larger bump up in mortgage ...