This paper revisits the link between house prices and monetary policy using a data set on house prices provided by the Bank for International Settlements. It is found that a loose monetary policy unambiguously results in a rise in real house prices, and such an increase is statistically significant for 19 of the 20 countries studied here. Empirical results also show that for some countries (Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, and South Africa), the interest rate shock can explain a large percentage of real house price movements. The response of house prices to monetary policy shocks varies between countries, and the strength of the relationship between house prices and monetary policy can be associated with financial liberalization. On the other hand, evidence shows that interest rate shock plays an important role in explaining recent house price hikes for Australia, Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands, the US, and South Africa. In particular, during 2002-2006, on average 24% of the house price hikes in the US can be attributed to monetary policy shocks. Finally, we also find evidence that central banks react to the housing market, particularly in those countries adopting a policy of inflation targeting.
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