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The long-run relationship between house prices and income: evidence from local housing markets

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  • Joshua Gallin
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    Abstract

    The proposition that "housing prices can't continue to outpace growth in household income" (Wall Street Journal; July 25, 2002) is the received wisdom among many housing-market observers. More formally, many in the housing literature argue that house prices and income are cointegrated. In this paper, I show that the data do not support this view. Standard tests using 27 years of national-level data do not find evidence of cointegration. However, it is known that tests for cointegration have low power, especially in small samples. I use panel-data tests for cointegration that have been shown to be more powerful than their standard time-series counterparts to test for cointegration in a panel of 95 metro areas over 23 years. Using a bootstrap approach to allow for cross-correlations in city-level house-price shocks, I show that even these more powerful tests do not reject the hypothesis of no cointegration. Thus the error-correction specification for house prices and income commonly found in the literature may be inappropriate.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2003-17.

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    Date of creation: 2003
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2003-17

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    Keywords: Housing ; Housing - Prices;

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    1. Banerjee, Anindya, 1999. " Panel Data Unit Roots and Cointegration: An Overview," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 61(0), pages 607-29, Special I.
    2. Maddala, G S & Wu, Shaowen, 1999. " A Comparative Study of Unit Root Tests with Panel Data and a New Simple Test," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 61(0), pages 631-52, Special I.
    3. Danny Quah, 1993. "Exploiting Cross Section Variation for Unit Root Inference in Dynamic Data," FMG Discussion Papers dp171, Financial Markets Group.
    4. Suzanne McCoskey & Chihwa Kao, 1998. "A residual-based test of the null of cointegration in panel data," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 57-84.
    5. Malpezzi, Stephen, 1999. "A Simple Error Correction Model of House Prices," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 27-62, March.
    6. Pasaran, M.H. & Im, K.S. & Shin, Y., 1995. "Testing for Unit Roots in Heterogeneous Panels," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9526, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    7. Capozza, Dennis R. & Mack, Charlotte & Hendershott, Patric H. & Mayer, Christopher J., 2002. "The Determinants of House Price Dynamics," ERES eres2002_106, European Real Estate Society (ERES).
    8. Shiller, Robert J. & Perron, Pierre, 1985. "Testing the random walk hypothesis : Power versus frequency of observation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 381-386.
    9. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2002. "The Impact of Zoning on Housing Affordability," NBER Working Papers 8835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Levin, Andrew & Lin, Chien-Fu & James Chu, Chia-Shang, 2002. "Unit root tests in panel data: asymptotic and finite-sample properties," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 1-24, May.
    11. Engle, Robert F & Granger, Clive W J, 1987. "Co-integration and Error Correction: Representation, Estimation, and Testing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 251-76, March.
    12. Dennis R. Capozza & Patric H. Hendershott & Charlotte Mack & Christopher J. Mayer, 2002. "Determinants of Real House Price Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 9262, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Meen, Geoffrey, 2002. "The Time-Series Behavior of House Prices: A Transatlantic Divide?," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 1-23, March.
    14. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119, October.
    15. David Reifschneider & Robert Tetlow & John Williams, 1999. "Aggregate disturbances, monetary policy, and the macroeconomy: the FRB/US perspective," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-19.
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