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On the economic impacts of mortgage credit expansion policies: evidence from Help to Buy

Felipe Carozzi, Christian Hilber () and Xiaolun Yu

LSE Research Online Documents on Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library

Abstract: Mortgage credit expansion policies – such as UK’s Help to Buy (HtB) – aim to increase access to and affordability of owner-occupied housing and are widespread around the world. We take advantage of spatial discontinuities in the HtB equity loan scheme, introduced in 2013, to explore the causal economic impacts and the effectiveness of this type of policies. Employing a Difference-in-Discontinuities design, we find that HtB increased house prices by more than the expected present value of the implied interest rate subsidy and had no discernible effect on construction volumes in the Greater London Authority (GLA), where housing supply is subject to severe long-run constraints and housing is already extremely unaffordable. HtB did increase construction numbers without affecting prices near the English/Welsh border, an area with less binding supply constraints and comparably affordable housing. HtB also led to bunching of newly built units below the price threshold, building of smaller new units and an improvement in the financial performance of developers. We conclude that credit expansion policies such as HtB may be ineffective in tightly supply constrained and already unaffordable areas.

Keywords: help to buy; house prices; construction; housing supply; land use regulation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: G28 H24 H81 R21 R31 R38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 69 pages
Date: 2020-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ure
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Working Paper: On the economic impacts of mortgage credit expansion policies: evidence from help to buy (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: On the Economic Impacts of Mortgage Credit Expansion Policies: Evidence from Help to Buy (2020) Downloads
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