The Housing Boom and Bust: Model Meets Evidence
We build a model of the US economy with multiple aggregate shocks that generate fluctuations in equilibrium house prices. Through counterfactual experiments, we study the housing boom-bust around the Great Recession, with three main results. First, the main driver of movements in house prices and rents was a shift in beliefs, not a change in credit conditions. Second, the boom-bust in house prices explains half of the corresponding swings in nondurable expenditures through a wealth effect. Third, a large-scale debt forgiveness program would have done little to temper the collapse of house prices and expenditures but would have dramatically reduced foreclosures and induced a small, but persistent, increase in consumption during the recovery.