Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Housing: Part 346 - Making the Crisis Inevitable

My new policy brief is up at Mercatus.  The important part:
This means that a collapse in prices was not inevitable. But more importantly, this means that calls for tighter monetary policy during the boom were calamitous. Loose monetary policy has been widely blamed for high home prices and for the debt-fueled consumption that they funded. Critics, and even Federal Reserve policymakers, generally agree that monetary policy should have been tightened sooner. But this is the wrong conclusion. In fact, monetary policy was powerless to counteract the debt-fueled consumption of the boom period, and the bust was only inevitable because the Fed tried to solve a problem that it could not functionally solve with tighter monetary policy.

and:
As in 2005, the primary stresses that characterize the American economy do not have a monetary source or solution, but mistaken monetary attempts at solutions are capable of adding to those stresses. Certainly, there is no reason to tighten policy today as a reaction to high home prices. 

2 comments:

  1. By the way, commercial real estate prices have recovered and risen even more than housing prices. In fact we are seeing record low cap rates on such prosaic properties as industrial real estate.

    I think the Fed has learned its lesson and will not try to pop the property "bubble". But can the Fed learn to live with 2.5% inflation?

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