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Many developed countries have seen housing prices and residential invest- ment soar in the last decade. This fact has refreshed the debate on the drivers of housing cycles as well as the appropriate policy response. We analyze these issues for the case of Spain, who has seen the interest rates at historical lows since it joined the EMU, and increasing housing demand pressures from im- migration and the baby boom generation. First, we present evidence based on a VAR model that suggests that both monetary and demand shocks are be- hind Spain's housing boom. Second, we calibrate a New Keynesian dynamic general equilibrium model of a small open economy in a currency area with durable goods. We study the effects of a housing demand shock, a monetary policy shock and a risk premium shock in the model. This allows us to bet- ter understand the factors amplifying a housing boom, the role played by the ECB and the recessionary effects of a housing bust. Our results are as follows. First, the model confirms that a combination of these shocks is indeed behind Spain's housing boom. Second, labor market rigidities provide strong ampli- fication effects to all type of shocks, while financial frictions play a secondary role. Third, monetary policy autonomy is of first order importance to cushion risk premium shocks, while this is not the case for housing demand shocks.

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