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LIBOR, base rate spreads and the UK housing market

Martin Hinch (Built Environment Research Institute, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, UK)
Jim Berry (Built Environment Research Institute, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, UK)
William McGreal (Built Environment Research Institute, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, UK, AND, School of Commerce, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)
Terry Grissom (Department of Economics, Ely Research Institute, Fernandina Beach, Florida, USA, AND, Lewis White Real Estate Institute, University of Missouri, Kansas City, Missouri, USA)

International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis

ISSN: 1753-8270

Article publication date: 2 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse how London Interbank Offered Rate Index (LIBOR) and the spread between LIBOR and the base rate of interest as set by the Bank of England (BoE) influences the variation in house prices in the UK.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses monthly data over a long time series, since 1986, to investigate the relationships between house price and LIBOR. Data are drawn from several different sources to include housing, financial and macro-economic variables. The time series is sub-divided into a series of splines based on stages in the economic and property market cycle. Both value-based and percentage change models are developed.

Findings

The results show that BoE base/LIBOR margin variable has a strong positive and significant effect on house price; however, the percentage change model infers a weaker and inverse relationship. The spline analysis re-emphasised the significance of the BoE base/LIBOR margin variable. Where variation between base rates and LIBOR is reduced, a significant positive effect can be observed in the average house price; however, where significant variation exists, the BoE base/LIBOR margin has little effect and LIBOR itself becomes a significant driver.

Research limitations/implications

The results highlight that the predictive qualities of the BoE base/LIBOR margin, as the contribution of this margin to the explanation of house price, exceeds both the base rate and LIBOR variables individually. Also highlighted is the contribution of unemployment to the explanation of house price. In both the value and percentage change models, unemployment is shown as a negative and highly significant contributor.

Originality/value

Previous papers have demonstrated the important linkage between house price and interest rates, the originality in this paper lies in examining the impact of LIBOR and the spreads between LIBOR and base rate as key variables influencing variation in UK house prices.

Keywords

Citation

Hinch, M., Berry, J., McGreal, W. and Grissom, T. (2015), "LIBOR, base rate spreads and the UK housing market", International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 118-134. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJHMA-04-2014-0009

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited