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Why Have Housing Prices Gone Up?

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

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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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 95 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 329-333

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:95:y:2005:i:2:p:329-333
Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282805774669961
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  1. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko & Raven E. Saks, 2005. "Why Have Housing Prices Gone Up?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2061, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. 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 331-69, October.
  3. 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.
  4. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko & Raven Saks, 2003. "Why is Manhattan So Expensive? Regulation and the Rise in House Prices," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2020, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, . "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.
  6. Edward L. Glaeser & Claudia Goldin, 2004. "Corruption and Reform: An Introduction," NBER Working Papers 10775, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. L. Randall Wray & Stephanie Bell, 2004. "Introduction," Chapters, in: Credit and State Theories of Money, chapter 1 Edward Elgar.
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