Housing Investment and the Economy: How Have the Relationships Changed?

William Miles

Journal of Real Estate Research, 2009, 31, 3, 329-350

Previous research has found that housing investment has a disproportionate role in the U.S. business cycle. This paper demonstrates that the relationship between housing and the rest of the economy has changed since financial deregulation and innovation in the early1980s. In particular, residential investment increases both consumption, as well as non-residential investment palpably more than in years past. Additionally, in the pre-deregulation years, non-residential investment appeared to crowd out housing activity. However, the results indicate that this effect is smaller in the present era than before the early 1980s, in all likelihood due to the switch from thrift-based financing of home mortgages to the current system in which secondary mortgage markets play a predominant role.