IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Teardowns, popups, and renovations: How does housing supply change?


  • Jenny Schuetz


Cities grow in layers over time. As population and land values increase, older, smaller buildings are replaced with higher density, higher value structures. However, direct costs of redevelopment and institutional barriers such as zoning may constrain replacement of older structures, leading to alternate forms of supply adjustment. In this paper, I use data on building permits in Washington DC to examine three different forms of residential investment: new construction, expansion of existing structures, and renovation. Results suggest that new construction accounts for a relatively small part of residential investment and is highly concentrated in a few neighborhoods. Expansions and alterations of existing structures are more frequent and more evenly dispersed across space. Recent increases in housing values are correlated with more new construction, but only among neighborhoods with relatively more permissive zoning. Additions and alterations are more prevalent in neighborhoods with high property values, older housing, and more restrictive zoning.

Suggested Citation

  • Jenny Schuetz, 2020. "Teardowns, popups, and renovations: How does housing supply change?," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 459-480, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jregsc:v:60:y:2020:i:3:p:459-480
    DOI: 10.1111/jors.12470

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dye, Richard F. & McMillen, Daniel P., 2007. "Teardowns and land values in the Chicago metropolitan area," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 45-63, January.
    2. Christian A. L. Hilber & Wouter Vermeulen, 2016. "The Impact of Supply Constraints on House Prices in England," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(591), pages 358-405, March.
    3. Gabriel Ahlfeldt & Daniel McMillen, 2017. "Tall Building and Land Values: Height and Construction Cost Elasticities in Chicago, 1870 - 2010," CESifo Working Paper Series 6730, CESifo.
    4. Clapp, John M. & Bardos, Katsiaryna Salavei & Wong, S.K., 2012. "Empirical estimation of the option premium for residential redevelopment," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 240-256.
    5. Helms, Andrew C., 2012. "Keeping up with the Joneses: Neighborhood effects in housing renovation," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 303-313.
    6. Jason Barr, 2013. "Skyscrapers And Skylines: New York And Chicago, 1885–2007," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 369-391, August.
    7. 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.
    8. Munneke, Henry J. & Womack, Kiplan S., 2015. "Neighborhood renewal: The decision to renovate or tear down," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 99-115.
    9. Miceli, Thomas J. & Sirmans, C.F., 2007. "The holdout problem, urban sprawl, and eminent domain," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 309-319, November.
    10. Albert Saiz, 2010. "The Geographic Determinants of Housing Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1253-1296.
    11. Jenny Schuetz, 2009. "No renters in my suburban backyard: Land use regulation and rental housing," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(2), pages 296-320.
    12. Xue-Zhong He & Lei Shi & Min Zheng, 2012. "Asset Pricing Under Keeping Up With the Joneses and Heterogeneous Beliefs," Research Paper Series 302, Quantitative Finance Research Centre, University of Technology, Sydney.
    13. McMillen, Daniel P. & McDonald, John F., 1991. "Urban land value functions with endogenous zoning," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 14-27, January.
    14. Joseph Gyourko & Albert Saiz, 2006. "Construction Costs And The Supply Of Housing Structure," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 661-680, October.
    15. Pnina O. Plaut & Steven E. Plaut, 2010. "Decisions to Renovate and to Move," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 32(4), pages 461-484.
    16. John M. Quigley & Steven Raphael, 2004. "Is Housing Unaffordable? Why Isn't It More Affordable?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 191-214, Winter.
    17. Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Daniel P. McMillen, 2018. "Tall Buildings and Land Values: Height and Construction Cost Elasticities in Chicago, 1870–2010," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 861-875, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:jregsc:v:60:y:2020:i:3:p:459-480. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley Content Delivery). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.