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Supply constraints and housing market dynamics

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  • Andrew D. Paciorek
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    Abstract

    Although the volatility of house prices is often ascribed to demand-side factors, constraints on housing supply have important and little-studied implications for housing dynamics. I illustrate the strong relationship in city-level data between the volatility of house prices and the regulation of new housing supply. I then employ a dynamic structural model of housing investment to estimate the effect of supply constraints on both the level of new construction and the responsiveness of investment to house prices. I find that supply constraints increase volatility through two channels: First, regulation lowers the elasticity of new housing supply by increasing lags in the permit process and adding to the cost of supplying new houses on the margin. Second, geographic limitations on the area available for building houses, such as steep slopes and water bodies, lead to less investment on average relative to the size of the existing housing stock, leaving less scope for the supply response to attenuate the effects of a demand shock. My estimates and simulations confirm that regulation and geographic constraints play critical and complementary roles in decreasing the responsiveness of investment to demand shocks, which in turn amplifies house price volatility.

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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 2012-01.

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    Date of creation: 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2012-01

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    Keywords: Housing - Prices ; Housing - United States;

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    1. Christopher J. Mayer & C. Tsuriel Somerville, . "Land Use Regulation and New Construction," Zell/Lurie Center Working Papers 331, Wharton School Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center, University of Pennsylvania.
    2. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko & Albert Saiz, 2008. "Housing Supply and Housing Bubbles," NBER Working Papers 14193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Matthew J. Notowidigdo, 2011. "The Incidence of Local Labor Demand Shocks," 2011 Meeting Papers 629, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. John M. Quigley & Steven Raphael, 2005. "Regulation and the High Cost of Housing in California," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 323-328, May.
    5. Ferreira, Fernando & Gyourko, Joseph & Tracy, Joseph, 2010. "Housing busts and household mobility," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 34-45, July.
    6. Calabrese, Stephen & Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard, 2007. "On the political economy of zoning," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 25-49, February.
    7. Huang, Haifang & Tang, Yao, 2010. "Residential Land Use Regulation and the US Housing Price Cycle Between 2000 and 2009," Working Papers 2010-11, University of Alberta, Department of Economics, revised 01 Nov 2010.
    8. Hanushek, Eric A & Quigley, John M, 1980. "What Is the Price Elasticity of Housing Demand?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(3), pages 449-54, August.
    9. Timothy J. Bartik, 2003. "Local Economic Development Policies," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 03-91, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    10. Robert Miller & Peter Arcidiacono, 2008. "CCP Estimation of Dynamic Discrete Choice Models with Unobserved Heterogeneity," 2008 Meeting Papers 1065, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. Dennis Epple & Brett Gordon & Holger Sieg, 2010. "A New Approach to Estimating the Production Function for Housing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 905-24, June.
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