An Index Future for Property Prices

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Abstract

The property market is well known for its cyclical behavior. Booms and busts characterize the property markets of all modern day economies. Like the markets for most other forms of assets, the market for properties is driven, among other factors, by expectation and speculation. Unlike the markets for other forms of assets, however, fluctuations in the property market cause much greater sways in emotions. In particular, a large drop in housing prices is interpreted to signal a serious economic slump. The government is often called on to revive the market. When housing prices rise rapidly, the government is also called on to curb speculation. Thus, in the wake of a spectacular surge in property prices, the government was under pressure to announce a series of measures to curb property speculation. In point of fact, however, the speculative instinct is such an important part of the market economy that stifling it would be tantamount to stifling the entrepreneurial spirit -- the drive to look for profitable opportunities and to act on them. Economists therefore typically warn against curbing speculation. Yet, there is no question that speculation can lead to higher property prices in the short term, and an abrupt end to a speculative boom can be painful and even disastrous.
Original languageEnglish
Volume11
Specialist publicationHKCER Letters
PublisherThe Hong Kong Centre for Economic Research
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1991
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

HKCER Letters.

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