Tag: mortgages

Private credit overhangs and the business cycle

Private credit overhangs and the business cycle

Back in 2012, three economists published a paper via the San Francisco Fed that looked at nearly every advanced economy business cycle from 1870 forward with the object of understanding the role of credit in the business cycle. Matthew Klein at the Financial Times alerted me of the paper.Now, what the economists found, not surprisingly, was that “financial-crisis recessions are more costly than normal recessions in terms of lost output; and for both types of recession, more credit-intensive expansions tend to be followed by deeper recessions and slower recoveries”. I want to discuss this both in terms of endogenous money and in terms of its implications for the present recovery and proposed recovery solutions. What follows is pretty wonky but very important as a thought piece for framing the economic environment.

Is the ECB doing QE?

Is the ECB doing QE?

Last week, the ECB announced that it would begin purchasing securities backed by bank lending to households and firms. Whereas markets and the media have generally greeted this announcement with enthusiasm, this column identifies reasons for caution. Other central banks’ quantitative easing programmes have involved purchasing fixed amounts of securities according to a published schedule. In contrast, the ECB’s new policy is demand-driven, and will only be effective if it breaks the vicious circle of recession and negative credit growth.

Jumbos still cheaper than conforming mortgages

Jumbos still cheaper than conforming mortgages

For years mortgage rates on “jumbo” loans have been higher than for traditional (conforming) mortgages. Since jumbo loans were larger than the upper limit permitted to be packaged and sold to Fannie and Freddie, banks would typically charge a premium for “illiquidity” on these products. But starting last year conforming mortgages became more expensive for borrowers than jumbo loans.

On the Canadian housing market

On the Canadian housing market

Fitch, the ratings agency, has reversed itself on Canada. It now believes that the housing market there is poised for only modest declines at worst. Previously, Fitch had said that Canada’s housing market was well overpriced and that a major correction was a serious risk. I believe the combination of high prices and high household debt means the risk of a major correction is still there.