Friday, September 21, 2012

What Have They Been Thinking? Home Buyer Behavior in Hot and Cold Markets

By Karl E. Case, Robert J. Shiller and Anne Thompson

Between the end of World War II and the year 2000, the U.S. housing market contributed much to the strength of the macro economy. It was a major source of jobs, produced consistently rising home equity, and served as perhaps the most significant channel to the real economy for monetary policy.

But starting with a drop in the S&P/Case–Shiller index for Boston in September of 2005 house prices began to fall in city after city. By the time it was over, home prices were down as much as 32% on a national basis, with many cities down by more than 50 percent, wiping nearly $7 trillion in equity off of the household balance sheet.

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