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How COVID-19 Affected First-Time Homebuyers

Donghoon Lee and Joseph Tracy Efforts in the spring of 2020 to contain the spread of COVID-19 resulted in a sharp contraction in U.S. economic growth and an unprecedented, rapid rise in unemployment. While the first wave of the pandemic slowed the spring housing market, home sales rebounded sharply over the rest of the year, with strong gains in house prices. Given the rising house prices and continuing high unemployment, concerns arose that COVID-19 may have negatively affected...

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Do People View Housing as a Good Investment and Why?

Andrew Haughwout, Haoyang Liu, Dean Parker, and Xiaohan Zhang Housing represents the largest asset owned by most households and is a major means of wealth accumulation, particularly for the middle class. Yet there is limited understanding of how households view housing as an investment relative to financial assets, in part because of their differences beyond the usual risk and return trade-off. Housing offers households an accessible source of leverage and a commitment device for...

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“Excess Savings” Are Not Excessive

Florin Bilbiie, Gauti Eggertsson, Giorgio Primiceri, and Andrea Tambalotti How will the U.S. economy emerge from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? Will it struggle to return to prior levels of employment and activity, or will it come roaring back as soon as vaccinations are widespread and Americans feel comfortable travelling and eating out? Part of the answer to these questions hinges on what will happen to the large amount of “excess savings” that U.S. households have...

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Will Capital Flows through Global Banks Support Economic Recovery?

Claudia M. Buch, Matthieu Bussière, and Linda S. Goldberg While policymakers around the world have aggressively and swiftly reacted to the common negative economic shock from COVID-19, the timing and forms of policy responses in the economic recovery stage may be more geographically differentiated. The range in policy responses, along with variations in the financial health of banks, likely will affect the flow of international credit through global banks. In this post, we ask whether,...

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How Competitive are U.S. Treasury Repo Markets?

Adam Copeland, R. Jay Kahn, Antoine Martin, Matthew McCormick, William Riordan, Kevin Clark, and Tim Wessel The Treasury repo market is at the center of the U.S. financial system, serving as a source of secured funding as well as providing liquidity for Treasuries in the secondary market. Recently, results published by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) raised concerns that the repo market may be dominated by as few as four banks. In this post, we show that the secured funding...

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Did Subsidies to Too-Big-To-Fail Banks Increase during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Asani Sarkar Once a bank grows beyond a certain size or becomes too complex and interconnected, investors often perceive that it is “too big to fail” (TBTF), meaning that if the bank were to become distressed, the government would likely bail it out. In a recent post, I showed that the implicit funding subsidies to systemically important banks (SIBs) declined, on average, after a set of reforms for eliminating TBTF perceptions was implemented. In this post, I discuss whether these...

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Up on Main Street

Donald P. Morgan and Steph Clampitt The Main Street Lending Program was the last of the facilities launched by the Fed and Treasury to support the flow of credit during the COVID-19 pandemic. The others primarily targeted Wall Street borrowers; Main Street was for smaller firms that rely more on banks for credit. It was a complicated program that worked by purchasing loans and sharing risk with lenders. Despite its delayed launch, Main Street purchased more debt than any other...

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The International Spillover of U.S. Monetary Policy via Global Production Linkages

Julian di Giovanni The recent era of globalization has witnessed growing cross-country trade integration as firms’ production chains have spread across the world, and with stock market returns becoming more correlated across countries. While research has predominantly focused on how financial integration impacts the propagation of shocks across international financial markets, trade also influences these cross-border spillovers. In particular, one important aspect, highlighted by...

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How Bank Reserves Are Distributed Matters. How You Measure Their Distribution Matters Too.

Gara Afonso, Marco Cipriani, Steph Clampitt, Haitham Jendoubi, Gabriele La Spada, and Will Riordan Changes in the distribution of banks’ reserve balances are important since they may impact conditions in the federal funds market and alter trading dynamics in money markets more generally. In this post, we propose using the Lorenz curve and Gini coefficient as a new approach to measuring reserve concentration. Since 2013, concentration, as captured by the Lorenz curve and the Gini...

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The Impact of Natural Disasters on the Corporate Loan Market

Ivan T. Ivanov, Marco Macchiavelli, and João A.C. Santos Natural disasters are usually associated with an increase in the demand for credit by both households and companies in the affected regions. However, if capacity constraints preclude banks from meeting the local increase in demand, the banks may reduce lending elsewhere, thus propagating the shock to unaffected areas. In this post, we analyze the corporate loan market and find that banks, particularly those with lower...

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