Housing, Finance and the Macroeconomy

National Bureau of Economic Research

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Date Published 2014
Primary Author Morris A. Davis
Other Authors Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh
Theme Housing Finance and the Economy


In this chapter, we review and discuss the large body of research that has developed over the past 10-plus years that explores the interconnection of macroeconomics, finance, and housing. We focus on three major topics -- housing and the business cycle, housing and portfolio choice, and housing and asset returns -- and then review the recent literature that studies housing and the macroeconomy during the great housing boom and bust of 2000-2010. Our emphasis is on calibrated models that can be compared to data. In each section, we discuss the important questions, the typical set of tools used, and the insights that result from important papers. Although great progress has been made in understanding the important role that housing plays in understanding macroeconomic phenomena, work remains. For example, economists cannot fully explain all of the volatility in house prices during the unprecedented boom and bust period of 2000-2010. At the end of the chapter, we discuss a new literature that assesses the macroeconomic effects and welfare implications of housing policies.

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