Monday, February 27, 2012

Feroli, Harris, Sufi and West on Housing and the Transmission of Monetary Policy

I will share a link when I find one.  Let me pull out a couple of paragraphs from the executive summary:

In this report, we focus on weakness in housing. Our analysis makes two broad points. First, weakness in housing and residential investment is a main impediment to a robust recovery. Second, problems related to housing have affected the transmission of monetary policy. More specifically, the unprecedented decline in house prices and residential investment has introduced headwinds that may require a more aggressive monetary response than in normal downturns. Further, problems related to housing markets may reduce the sensitivity of real economic activity to the interest rates that monetary policy can affect. Or in the parlance of textbook intermediate macroeconomics, housing problems have likely shifted the IS curve leftwards and steepened the slope of the curve by introducing a gap between policy rates and effective rates. For both of these reasons, problems related to housing introduce significant challenges to monetary policy-making.
There are six steps in our analysis:
1. We begin by placing housing in the context of the broader economic recovery. The overall recovery in GDP has been one of the weakest in the postwar period even though the recession was the largest in the postwar period. Residential investment has been a particularly dismal performer. Further, the other weakest components of GDP--consumption of services and state and local government expenditures--can also be closely linked to weakness in housing markets. Focusing just on the direct impact of housing—home construction and housing service consumption—the sector accounts for about a third of the shortfall of growth relative to a typical recovery. Obviously the full impact of the housing crisis is bigger if we include indirect impacts on local governments and consumption of housing-related durables. We also show evidence from other countries that a collapse in housing is associated with subsequently weak recoveries....
If one looks at business cycle histories (see herehere and here), it is hard to imagine full recovery without housing market recovery.  Warren Buffet this morning said it was time for one.  I hope he is right.