Date Added: Nov 2010
A range of hypotheses have been put forward to explain the boom in house prices that occurred in the United States from the mid-1990s to 2007. This paper considers the relative importance of two of these hypotheses. First, global imbalances increased liquidity in the US financial system, driving down long-term real interest rates. Second, the Federal Reserve kept interest rates low in the first half of the 2000s. Both factors reduced the cost of borrowing and may have encouraged the boom in house prices. This paper develops an empirical framework to separate the relative contributions of these two factors to the US housing market.