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Credit Supply and the Housing Boom
There is no consensus among economists as to what drove the rise of U.S. house prices and household debt in the period leading up to the recent financial crisis. In this post, we argue that the fundamental factor behind that boom was an increase in the supply of mortgage credit, which was brought about by securitization and shadow banking, along with a surge in capital inflows from abroad. This argument is based on the interpretation of four macroeconomic developments between 2000 and 2006 provided by a general equilibrium model of housing and credit.
Credit supply and the housing boom
The housing boom that preceded the Great Recession was the result of an increase in credit supply driven by looser lending constraints in the mortgage market. This view on the fundamental drivers of the boom is consistent with four empirical observations: the unprecedented rise in home prices, the surge in household debt, the stability of debt relative to home values, and the fall in mortgage rates. These facts are difficult to reconcile with the popular view that attributes the housing boom to looser borrowing constraints associated with lower collateral requirements. In fact, a slackening ...