Questions Remain Over How To Solve Pricing Problems Caused By Crisis Without Repeating Them
Central bankers are increasingly torn between promoting growth in the present and repeating the mistakes of the past. Growth in property prices in particular—and the broader economy in general—has been sluggish in most major countries since the financial crisis, with a few exceptions. In New Zealand, Australia and South Africa home prices have seen increases of more than 30% in the last four years, while Germany has seen gains of roughly 17%, Bloomberg reports.
The US has seen a better rebound than most developed economies since prices bottomed out after the crash, but prices still trail their pre-crisis peak by 3.8%, as seen in the chart above.
What to do about lagging property values remains a conundrum, however: Central banks want to cut rates and promote growth, but also don’t want to oversee the creation of new bubbles.
Sweden is a case in point—the country’s central bank has cut its repo rate to minus 0.5% in an effort to boost growth and inflation. At the same time home prices have gone absolutely bonkers.
Underscoring the precariousness of the Swedish property market, Moody’s Investors Service recently warned that in Sweden “the sustained and strong growth in mortgage lending and house prices risks leading to an (ultimately unsustainable) asset bubble." [Bloomberg]