Furthermore, movements in house prices can affect people’s lives indirectly. For example, the surge in the number of mortgage defaults and foreclosures during the recent recession was triggered in part by a drop in house prices, and this surge damaged the health of the financial institutions that either directly or indirectly owned mortgage loans. In turn, the deteriorating health of the financial sector was one of the factors contributing to the recession. Naturally, for both policymakers and for people who want to make sound financial decisions, it is important to understand how and why house prices move. In this article, Makoto Nakajima explains a simple theory that helps us better understand house-price dynamics. The theory — called the user cost-rent equivalence — is based on the close relationship between user costs, which are the costs of owning a house for a year, and rents.
This article appeared in the Second Quarter 2011 edition of Business Review.View the Full Article