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Identifying and forecasting house prices: a macroeconomic perspective

Nan-Kuang Chen (), Han-Liang Cheng and Ching-Sheng Mao

Quantitative Finance, 2014, vol. 14, issue 12, 2105-2120

Abstract: This paper studies the forecasting performance of macroeconomic variables on housing returns and on the possible shifts of regimes in house price cycles. We motivate our empirical analysis based on a general equilibrium model, and use a Markov switching model to identify two regimes of housing returns: the high volatility ('boom-bust') regime and the low volatility ('tranquil') regime. Given US data - , we find that with a single-regime model inflation rate and federal funds rate perform better than other economic aggregates in predicting housing returns. Using the Markov switching model, inflation rate and the federal funds rate are the most consistent predictor for in-sample and out-of-sample forecast of the probability of the 'boom-bust' regime. The results imply that motives for inflation hedging and changes in monetary policy matter for the movements of future housing returns and the possible shifts of regimes in house price cycles.

Date: 2014
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