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Arbitrage in Housing Markets

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  • Glaeser, Edward L.

    (Harvard U)

  • Gyourko, Joseph

    (U of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

Urban economists understand housing prices with a spatial equilibrium approach that assumes people must be indifferent across locations. Since the spatial no arbitrage condition is inherently imprecise, other economists have turned to different no arbitrage conditions, such as the prediction that individuals must be indifferent between owning and renting. This paper argues the predictions from these non-spatial, financial no arbitrage conditions are also quite imprecise. Owned homes are extremely different from rental units and owners are quite different from renters. The unobserved costs of home owning such as maintenance are also quite large. Furthermore, risk aversion and the high volatility of housing prices compromise short-term attempts to arbitrage by delaying home buying. We conclude that housing cannot be understood with a narrowly financial approach that ignores space any more than it can be understood with a narrowly spatial approach that ignores asset markets.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp08-017.

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Date of creation: Mar 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp08-017

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  1. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller, 1987. "Prices of Single Family Homes Since 1970: New Indexes for Four Cities," NBER Working Papers 2393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jonathan McCarthy & Richard W. Peach, 2004. "Are home prices the next "bubble"?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Dec, pages 1-17.
  3. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1995. "The Limits of Arbitrage," NBER Working Papers 5167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Todd Sinai & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2005. "Owner-Occupied Housing as a Hedge Against Rent Risk," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(2), pages 763-789, May.
  5. Charles Himmelberg & Christopher Mayer & Todd Sinai, 2005. "Assessing High House Prices: Bubbles, Fundamentals and Misperceptions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 67-92, Fall.
  6. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-78, December.
  7. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2006. "Housing Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 12787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Todd Sinai, 1997. "Taxation, User Cost, and Household Mobility Decisions," Zell/Lurie Center Working Papers 303, Wharton School Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center, University of Pennsylvania.
  9. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller, 1990. "Forecasting Prices and Excess Returns in the Housing Market," NBER Working Papers 3368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Joseph Gyourko & Christopher Mayer & Todd Sinai, 2006. "Superstar Cities," NBER Working Papers 12355, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Robert J. Shiller, 1980. "Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?," NBER Working Papers 0456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Joseph Gyourko & Joseph Tracy, 2006. "Using Home Maintenance and Repairs to Smooth Variable Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 736-747, November.
  13. Case, Karl E & Shiller, Robert J, 1989. "The Efficiency of the Market for Single-Family Homes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 125-37, March.
  14. Henderson, J Vernon & Ioannides, Yannis M, 1983. "A Model of Housing Tenure Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 98-113, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko & Albert Saiz, 2008. "Housing Supply and Housing Bubbles," NBER Working Papers 14193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Christophe Andre & Luis A. Gil-Alana & Rangan Gupta, 2013. "Testing for Persistence in Housing Price-to-Income and Price-to-Rent Ratios in 16 OECD Countries," Working Papers 201321, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
  3. Banzhaf, H. Spencer & Farooque, Omar, 2013. "Interjurisdictional housing prices and spatial amenities: Which measures of housing prices reflect local public goods?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 635-648.
  4. McDuff, DeForest, 2011. "Demand substitution across US cities: Observable similarity and home price correlation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 1-14, July.
  5. Grainger, Corbett A., 2012. "The distributional effects of pollution regulations: Do renters fully pay for cleaner air?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 840-852.
  6. Elias Oikarinen, 2008. "Empirical application of the housing-market no-arbitrage condition: problems, solutions and a Finnish case study," Discussion Papers 39, Aboa Centre for Economics.
  7. Gao, Andre & Lin, Zhenguo & Na, Carrie Fangzhou, 2009. "Housing market dynamics: Evidence of mean reversion and downward rigidity," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 256-266, September.
  8. Bischoff, Oliver, 2012. "Explaining regional variation in equilibrium real estate prices and income," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1-15.
  9. Goswami, Gautam & Tan, Sinan, 2012. "Pricing the US residential asset through the rent flow: A cross-sectional study," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 2742-2756.
  10. Hjalmarsson, Erik & Hjalmarsson, Randi, 2009. "Efficiency in housing markets: Which home buyers know how to discount?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(11), pages 2150-2163, November.
  11. Jinjarak, Yothin & Sheffrin, Steven M., 2011. "Causality, real estate prices, and the current account," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 233-246, June.

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