Frictionless house-price momentum
|Patrick Fève and Alban Moura
Abstract. This paper establishes that frictionless, rational-expectations models driven by speciﬁc ARMA(2,1) forcing processes are consistent with equilibrium asset-price dynamics featuring momentum. To reach this result, we ﬁrst document that AR(2) models ade-quately capture the cyclical dynamics found in U.S. house prices, in particular the strong positive ﬁrst-order autocorrelation in their ﬁrst diﬀerence. Then, we show analytically that ARMA(2,1) exogenous drivers give rise to equilibrium AR(2) asset-price dynamics in a sim-ple present-value model. Our pen-and-paper approach yields a straightforward economic interpretation of the results, emphasizing the contribution of anticipated shocks to generat-ing asset-price momentum. We document the empirical relevance of our theoretical results by estimating the model from house-price data. Our ﬁndings suggest that house-price mo-mentum does not necessarily signal irrational exuberance or strong frictions in housing markets.
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