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Is There a Bubble in the Housing Market?

Author

Listed:
  • Karl E. Case

    (Wellesley College)

  • Robert J. Shiller

    (Yale University)

Abstract

This paper looks for evidence of a bubble in U.S. housing prices. It analyzes quarterly state-level data over 1985-2002, focusing on the relationship between home prices and selected fundamental variables. Income per capita alone largely explains price changes in all but eight states; in the latter, large price movements are observed unrelated to the fundamentals. Results from a new survey of recent homebuyers in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and Milwaukee metropolitan areas are reported. This survey replicates an almost identical 1988 survey and finds, as before, that buyers in most of these markets perceive little risk in their housing investment, have unrealistic expectations about future price increases, and hold economically implausible beliefs about home price behavior—findings consistent with a bubble. Prices in such markets could stall or decline, but only if such declines are simultaneous or spread to other markets are significant effects on the national economy likely.

Suggested Citation

  • Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller, 2003. "Is There a Bubble in the Housing Market?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(2), pages 299-362.
  • Handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:34:y:2003:i:2003-2:p:299-362
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    4. James M. Poterba, 1984. "Tax Subsidies to Owner-Occupied Housing: An Asset-Market Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(4), pages 729-752.
    5. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller, 1987. "Prices of single-family homes since 1970: new indexes for four cities," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Sep, pages 45-56.
    6. Bewley, Truman, 2002. "Interviews as a valid empirical tool in economics," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 343-353.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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