Housing Prices and Mortgage Credit in Luxembourg

DateFebruary 2018
AuteurSara Ferreira Filipe

This paper investigates the interaction between residential housing prices and mortgage credit in Luxembourg over the period 1980Q1-2017Q1. We use a vector error correction framework to model this interaction and allow for feedback effects between the two variables. In the long-run, higher housing prices lead to a mortgage credit expansion, which in turn puts upward pressure on prices. The growing demand for mortgage credit is also sustained by positive net migration to Luxembourg. Construction activity is another important determinant of housing prices, in line with existing supply-side limitations on dwelling availability. These dynamics lead to a structural imbalance between housing supply and demand, with the latter being fueled by demographic factors, tax incentives and fiscal subsidies, as well as the low interest rate environment. While price dynamics are partially explained by these structural factors, our results suggest that over the last few years residential housing prices have been characterized by a moderate, but persistent, overvaluation with respect to market fundamentals. Between 2012Q1 and 2017Q1, the average overvaluation is estimated at 6.85% but its trend is decreasing in the last quarters. Results also show that housing prices have a slow rate of adjustment to deviations from fundamentals (only 2.2% of the misalignment is corrected each quarter) and they do not directly adjust to disequilibria in the mortgage market. These findings are supported by impulse response analysis, which suggests that shocks to the endogenous variables lead to permanent increases in housing prices.

Keywords: residential real estate, housing market, VECM, property price valuation

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