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23-12-2017

Local House Price Paths: Accelerations, Declines, and Recoveries

Journal:
The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics
Authors:
Alexander N. Bogin, William M. Doerner, William D. Larson

Abstract

Mortgage credit risk measurement hinges on the choice of a house price stress path, which is used to project loan losses and determine financial capital requirements. House price paths are commonly constructed at national or state levels and shock scenarios are created to mimic historical adverse market conditions. We provide evidence that this level of geographic aggregation is not granular enough in many cases—collateral risk often varies within cities. Using local house price indices that cover the United States from 1975 to 2016, we focus on house price performance in the years immediately following sustained periods of rapid acceleration. Price accelerations tend to exhibit temporal clustering and occur with greater frequency in large versus small cities. We exploit within-city variation in price dynamics to provide evidence that price initially overshoot sustainable levels but, in some areas, dynamics may reflect positive underlying economic fundamentals and can be sustained. After accelerating, price reach their trough after 4 or 5 years. Small cities show uniform declines whereas large cities exhibit greater price decreases farther away from city centers. These findings suggest differential collateral risk exists in large cities, financial losses can be predictable based on real estate location theory, and localized house price paths could aid credit risk management.

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