Holes in the Dike: The Global Savings Glut, U.S. House Prices and the Long Shadow of Banking Deregulation
University of Zurich, Department of Economics, Working Paper No. 183
44 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2014
Date Written: December 15, 2014
We explore empirically how capital inflows into the US and financial deregulation within the United States interacted in driving the run-up (and subsequent decline) in US housing prices over the period 1990-2010. To obtain an ex ante measure of financial liberalization, we focus on the history of interstate-banking deregulation during the 1980s, i.e. prior to the large net capital inflows into the US from China and other emerging economies. Our results suggest a long shadow of deregulation: in states that opened their banking markets to out-of-state banks earlier, house prices were more sensitive to capital inflows. We provide evidence that global imbalances were a major positive funding shock for US wide banks: different from local banks, these banks held a geographically diversified portfolio of mortgages which allowed them to tap the global demand for safe assets by issuing private-label safe assets backed by the country-wide US housing market. This, in turn, allowed them to expand mortgage lending and lower interest rates, driving up housing prices.
Keywords: House prices, savings glut, global imbalances, credit constraints, state banking deregulation
JEL Classification: G10, G21, G28, F20, F32, F40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation