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Policy Contribution

Spotting excessive regional house price growth and what to do about it

Rapidly rising house prices are a well-known source of financial instability. This Policy Contribution examines whether there are regional differences in house price growth within European countries and, if so, whether this warrants more targeted measures to address vulnerabilities.

By: , and Date: October 18, 2017 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

This paper is accompanied by an online annex

Housing bubbles are a well-known source of financial instability. In addition, given the importance of this sector to the economy, the collapse of such bubbles tends to be followed by deeper recessions and slower recoveries than other crises, as the recent boom-bust housing cycles in many countries have clearly demonstrated.

In the European Union, the policy instruments available to address this and to prevent future housing bubbles are implemented either at the national level (macroprudential policies) or at the euro-area level (monetary policy). However, recent research suggests that house price developments and bubbles are above all a local phenomenon.

There are significant regional differences in house price developments within EU countries, in particular between capital cities and other regions. Our results suggest that house price fluctuations in capital cities tend to be more volatile and stronger than in the rest of the countries, warranting more targeted measures at the local level.

The authors propose to use differentiated macroprudential policy at the regional level. This could be done with the application of different loan-to-value (LTV) or debt-to-income (DTI) limits for mortgages in capital cities and in the rest of the countries, in order to tighten policy more quickly in areas more prone to overheating. This type of policy has already been successfully applied in Korea. Competent authorities in the EU should consider adding this instrument to their toolkits in order to increase the precision, and therefore the effectiveness, of their policies.

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Parliamentary Testimony

European Parliament

The role of independent expertise in legislative process

Testimony before the European Parliament Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO).

By: Zsolt Darvas and J. Scott Marcus Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, European Parliament, Testimonies Date: July 18, 2018
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By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: July 3, 2018
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Past Event

Past Event

Euro tragedy: a drama in nine acts

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Speakers: Maria Demertzis, Ashoka Mody and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: June 27, 2018
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Blog Post

The European Union must defend Andreas Georgiou

Andreas Georgiou’s case raises disturbing questions about the integrity of European statistical processes. Forceful action by EU authorities on Mr Georgiou’s case is long overdue. The European Union also needs to consider reforming its statistical framework to ensure a similar scandal cannot recur.

By: Nicolas Véron Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 26, 2018
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Working Paper

EU financial services policy since 2007: crisis, responses and prospects

This paper presents a holistic overview and assessment of the European Union (EU)’s financial services policy since the start of its financial crisis in mid-2007. Its emphasis is on public policy initiatives and developments at the European level, including those specific to the euro area.

By: Nicolas Véron Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: June 21, 2018
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Policy Contribution

Is the European Semester effective and useful?

The authors study whether and to what extent EU countries implement recommendations on macroeconomic imbalances given by the EU in the so-called European Semester. Overall implementation of recommendations by EU countries has worsened in the last few years, in particular when it comes to recommendations addressed to countries with excessive macroeconomic imbalances.

By: Konstantinos Efstathiou and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 13, 2018
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Blog Post

Italian populism calls for hard choices

The economic agenda of Italian populists is likely to exacerbate rather than alleviate Italy’s longstanding problems. But the piecemeal, small-step approach followed by European and national ruling elites, while perhaps tolerable for countries under normal economic conditions, is insufficient for an Italy stuck in a low-growth-high-debt equilibrium. If defenders of the European project want to regain popularity, they will need to present a clear functioning alternative to setting the house on fire.

By: Alessio Terzi Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: May 31, 2018
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