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Why Have Housing Prices Gone Up?

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  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Joseph Gyourko
  • Raven E. Saks

Abstract

Since 1950, housing prices have risen regularly by almost two percent per year. Between 1950 and 1970, this increase reflects rising housing quality and construction costs. Since 1970, this increase reflects the increasing difficulty of obtaining regulatory approval for building new homes. In this paper, we present a simple model of regulatory approval that suggests a number of explanations for this change including changing judicial tastes, decreasing ability to bribe regulators, rising incomes and greater tastes for amenities, and improvements in the ability of homeowners to organize and influence local decisions. Our preliminary evidence suggests that there was a significant increase in the ability of local residents to block new projects and a change of cities from urban growth machines to homeowners’ cooperatives.
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Suggested Citation

  • Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko & Raven E. Saks, 2005. "Why Have Housing Prices Gone Up?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 329-333, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:95:y:2005:i:2:p:329-333
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282805774669961
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko & Raven Saks, 2003. "Why is Manhattan So Expensive? Regulation and the Rise in House Prices," NBER Working Papers 10124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko & Raven E. Saks, 2005. "Why Have Housing Prices Gone Up?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 329-333, May.
    3. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, "undated". "The Impact of Zoning on Housing Affordability," Zell/Lurie Center Working Papers 395, Wharton School Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center, University of Pennsylvania.
    4. Glaeser, Edward L & Gyourko, Joseph & Saks, Raven, 2005. "Why Is Manhattan So Expensive? Regulation and the Rise in Housing Prices," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 331-369, October.
    5. William A. Fischel, 2004. "An Economic History of Zoning and a Cure for its Exclusionary Effects," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 41(2), pages 317-340, February.
    6. Edward L. Glaeser & Claudia Goldin, 2006. "Corruption and Reform: Introduction," NBER Chapters, in: Corruption and Reform: Lessons from America's Economic History, pages 2-22, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    JEL classification:

    • O2 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy

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