IMF warns of risks in synchronized increases in house prices globally

Updated 2018-04-11 10:18:01 Xinhua

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday warned that synchronized increases in house prices around the world would heighten the risks of economic slowdown.

The latest IMF study found that house prices move in tandem across countries and major global cities, a further sign of the growing integration of financial markets.

The study was included in its analytical chapters of its flagship Global Financial Stability Report which was due to be released next week.

According to the study, ultra-low interest rates in major economies and economic recovery since the global financial crisis gave a boost to the synchronized home prices increases.

In addition, wealthy individuals and institutional investors, such as private equity firms and Real Estate Investment Trusts, have stepped up their investment globally, which also pushed up home prices in major cities.

"All of this suggests that house prices are starting to behave more like the prices of financial assets, such as stocks and bonds, which are influenced by investors elsewhere in the world," said the IMF.

"As a result, housing markets in one country are more sensitive to swings in another," it pointed out.

It suggested that policymakers pay attention to this trend, because the heightened tendency for house prices to move in tandem may signal greater odds of an economic slowdown.

"An economic shock in one part of the world is more likely to affect housing markets elsewhere," the IMF said.

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