Monetary policy has heterogeneous effects across euro area countries. There are strong correlations between cross-country monetary policy potency and housing and mortgage market institutions, namely the share of adjustable-rate mortgages and the homeownership rate. To disentangle the relative importance of these institutions, I incorporate them into a quantitative currency-union New Keynesian model with rich household balance sheets. I calibrate the model to Spain and the euro area. The model fits well: the consumption response in Spain is 2.4 times stronger than the euro area in the model relative to 2.5 in the data. My results reveal that a higher adjustable-rate mortgage share and a higher homeownership rate interact to amplify the effects of monetary policy on economic activity due to smaller mortgage interest payments and a higher fraction of mortgaged homeowners operating in the market. I use the model to show that a banking union requiring shared financial regulation decreases the heterogeneous effects of monetary policy by weakening the pass-through to average mortgage interest rates. Finally, including house prices into the euro area price index stabilizes output at the cost of less stable goods inflation.
How do households across euro area countries plan their spending during the covid-19 pandemic? Making use of the Consumer Expectation Survey administered by the European Central Bank, we find that current balance sheets positions, as well as expectations about individual and aggregate variables, play an important role in household planned expenditures in durables. Expectations about both house price growth and inflation shape such plans, and these impacts have been changing during the course of the pandemic. An increase in the number of covid-related deaths in the region where households reside sharply decreases their planned expenditures over the following 12 months. Additionally, we uncover significant heterogeneity across education levels, age, and housing tenure.
House price changes are strongly correlated in the data following monetary policy shocks. I build a New Keynesian model of the housing market where households choose the optimal amount of housing and mortgages. To accommodate realistic house price movements, I extend the housing market structure to include search frictions and house price rigidity so that the housing market clears through the relative fraction of successful buyers and sellers each period. I show that the house price momentum does not translate into slow movements of output and therefore it cannot explain the high degree of persistence found in the data following a contractionary monetary shock. I also highlight important redistributional effects between savers and borrowers in the economy. In particular, house price momentum coupled with the loan-to-value constraint forces the indebted households to cut their consumption for several quarters following a contractionary monetary shock.