Soaring house prices in major cities: how to spot and moderate them
This article examines whether there are regional differences in house price growth within European countries and find a stronger cyclical pattern in capital cities compared to other regions, indicating a clear rationale for regional-level tools. The authors recommend using macro-prudential measures at a regional level, in particular loan-to-value and debt-to-income limits, to dampen the housing boom-bust cycle.
Rapidly rising house prices are a well-known source of financial instability. This chapter examines whether there are regional differences in house price growth within European countries and, whether this warrants more targeted measures to address vulnerabilities. The focus is on the division in terms of house prices between the capital cities and the rest of the territories of six EU countries. There is evidence of a decoupling between capitals and the rest of the country. House prices in capitals seem to have a stronger cyclical component which would indicate a clear rationale for regional-level tools. An instrument that could be used locally is tax. But adjusting taxes to dampen house prices would be very difficult. Structural measures to adjust the housing supply, such as relaxing planning restrictions typically have a long lead time. An alternative is to use macro-prudential measures at a regional level, in particular loan-to-value and debt-to-income limits. In that way, the housing boom-bust cycle might be dampened.