Sunday, June 15, 2014

IMF's most overvalued housing markets around the world

Era of Benign Neglect of House Price Booms is Over

Theory asserts that house prices, rents, and incomes should move in tandem over the long run. If house prices and rents get way out of line, people would switch between buying and renting, eventually bringing the two in alignment. Similarly, in the long run, the price of houses cannot stray too far from people’s ability to afford them––that is, from their income. The ratios of house prices to rents and incomes are thus often used as an initial check on whether house prices are out of line with economic fundamentals. 

Hence we also need macroprudential policies aimed at increasing the resilience of the system as a whole. The main macroprudential tools used to contain housing booms are limits on loan-to-value (LTV) ratios and debt-to-income (DTI) ratios and sectoral capital requirements (Figure 4). Hong Kong SAR has imposed caps on loan-to-value and debt-to-income ratios since 1990s, Korea since 2000s, and during and after the global financial crisis, over 20 advanced and emerging economies have followed their example.
Another macroprudential tool is to impose stricter capital requirements on loans to a specific sector such as real estate. This forces banks to hold more capital against these loans, discouraging heavy exposure to the sector. In many advanced economies—Ireland, Norway, and Spain— and emerging market economies— Estonia, Peru, and Thailand— capital adequacy risk weights were increased on mortgage loans with high loan to value ratios.

IMF have posted several graphs. (Yes, they let a graphic artist go a bit wild with them…)

According to the blog, Belgium is an exception to being in trouble, despite the higher than average price to income and rent. That leaves Canada as the most troubled country on both measures with New Zealand and Australia not far behind. Also flirting with a worrisome bubble are France, UK, Sweden, Norway.

IMF have also launched a new site to pull together all their data on world housing markets.

IMF's New Global House Price Watch

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