Do Community Banks Stabilize Housing Prices?

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Journal of Housing Research, Community Banks, Finance


This paper examines the influence that community bank residential mortgage lending has on regional housing prices and ultimately the housing price bubble that culminated with the Great Recession of 2007–09. Previous research suggests that community bank lending is influenced by financial intermediation frictions, such as difficulty attracting uninsured deposits and limited access to the bond market. Such frictions cause bank liquidity to play an important role in the ability of community banks to navigate swings in the local economy as well as real estate prices. We take these frictions as the starting point in our analysis and contribute to literature by focusing on the impact that community banks exert on housing prices. Specifically, we find that while community bank residential mortgage holdings are marginally related to housing price cycles, their mortgage lending does not contribute in an economically meaningful way to housing price bubbles. Even though bank liquidity, defined as the ratio of securities-to-assets, plays a role in the degree of community bank residential mortgage lending, it is not sufficiently strong enough to influence housing prices.