Chapter 6 examines real estate as a neglected feature of actual economies. It begins with an empirical overview demonstrating the preeminent role of land as a part of nonfinancial wealth. Whereas many macroeconomic models represent nonfinancial wealth by a symbol K that is interpreted as machines and equipment (if not robots), the text makes clear that such items are of minor quantitative importance. In contemporary economies, nonfinancial wealth consists chiefly of real estate. This is the proper reason so many analysts conjecture a link between house prices and the Great Recession. Changes in house prices (primarily changes in land prices) operate on the economy through their influence on nonfinancial wealth. Nonfinancial wealth affects consumption directly and investment indirectly since it relaxes or tightens borrowing constraints. Building on the results obtained in previous chapters, the text studies housing manias and leverage cycles and relates its main findings to US data.
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