Money Illusion and Housing Frenzies
48 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2007 Last revised: 18 May 2015
Date Written: December 2006
A reduction in inflation can fuel run-ups in housing prices if people suffer from money illusion. For example, investors who decide whether to rent or buy a house by simply comparing monthly rent and mortgage payments do not take into account that inflation lowers future real mortgage costs. We decompose the price-rent ratio in a rational component -- meant to capture the proxy effect and risk premia -- and an implied mispricing. We find that inflation and nominal interest rates explain a large share of the time-series variation of the mispricing, and that the tilt effect is unlikely to rationalize this finding.
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