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Has the United States Overinvested in Housing?


  • Edwin S. Mills


Several economists have concluded that housing investment has been excessive relative to industrial investment in the U.S. Most blame provisions of the federal income tax that favor owner-occupied housing.This paper poses the question within a two-sector neoclassical growth model which permits the social return to housing to differ from that to non-housing. The model is estimated using national income accounts and capital stock data from 1929 to 1983. The conclusion is that the return to housing capital is about half that to non-housing capital and that the housing stock should be about 75% of its 1983 volume. Copyright American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Edwin S. Mills, 1987. "Has the United States Overinvested in Housing?," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 15(1), pages 601-616.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reesec:v:15:y:1987:i:1:p:601-616

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rosen, Harvey S., 1985. "Housing subsidies: Effects on housing decisions, efficiency, and equity," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 375-420 Elsevier.
    2. Ermisch, John & Di Salvo, Pamela, 1997. "The Economic Determinants of Young People's Household Formation," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 64(256), pages 627-644, November.
    3. Masnick, George S., 2001. "The New Demographics of Housing," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt9668w1w4, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
    4. Boyes, William J. & Hoffman, Dennis L. & Low, Stuart A., 1989. "An econometric analysis of the bank credit scoring problem," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 3-14, January.
    5. Haurin Donald R. & Hendershott Patric H. & Kim Dongwook, 1994. "Housing Decisions of American Youth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 28-45, January.
    6. Ermisch, John, 1999. "Prices, Parents, and Young People's Household Formation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 47-71, January.
    7. Haurin, Donald R & Hendershott, Patric H & Kim, Dongwook, 1993. "The Impact of Real Rents and Wages on Household Formation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 284-293, May.
    8. Donald R. Haurin & R. Jean Haurin & Steven Garasky, 2001. "Group living decisions as youths transition to adulthood," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 14(2), pages 329-349.
    9. Borsch-Supan, Axel, 1986. "Household formation, housing prices, and public policy impacts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 145-164, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kim, Kyung-Hwan, 2004. "Housing and the Korean economy," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 321-341, December.
    2. William Miles, 2009. "Housing Investment and the U.S. Economy: How Have the Relationships Changed?," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 31(3), pages 329-350.
    3. Green, Richard K. & White, Michelle J., 1997. "Measuring the Benefits of Homeowning: Effects on Children," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 441-461, May.
    4. Timothy Bisping & Hilde Patron, 2008. "Residential Investment and Business Cycles in an Open Economy: A Generalized Impulse Response Approach," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 33-49, July.
    5. Lori L. Taylor, 1998. "Does the United States still overinvest in housing?," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q II, pages 10-18.
    6. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:1:p:66:d:62235 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Bertay, Ata Can & Gong, Di & Wagner, Wolf, 2017. "Securitization and economic activity: The credit composition channel," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 225-239.
    8. Wall, Larry D. & Eisenbeis, Robert A. & Frame, W. Scott, 2005. "Resolving large financial intermediaries: Banks versus housing enterprises," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 386-425, April.
    9. Dietz, Robert D. & Haurin, Donald R., 2003. "The social and private micro-level consequences of homeownership," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 401-450, November.
    10. W. Scott Frame & Lawrence J. White, 2005. "Fussing and Fuming over Fannie and Freddie: How Much Smoke, How Much Fire?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 159-184, Spring.
    11. Lawrence White, 2003. "Focusing on Fannie and Freddie: The Dilemmas of Reforming Housing Finance," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 23(1), pages 43-58, February.
    12. Boehm, Thomas P. & Schlottmann, Alan M., 1999. "Does Home Ownership by Parents Have an Economic Impact on Their Children?," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 217-232, September.
    13. Renaud, Bertrand & INU, 1988. "Compounding financial repression with rigid urban regulations : lessons of the Korea housing market," Policy Research Working Paper Series 360, The World Bank.
    14. Hanson, Andrew, 2012. "Size of home, homeownership, and the mortgage interest deduction," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 195-210.
    15. Yu Kong & John L. Glascock & Ran Lu-Andrews, 2016. "An Investigation into Real Estate Investment and Economic Growth in China: A Dynamic Panel Data Approach," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(1), pages 1-18, January.
    16. Ricardo Sabates Land Tenure Center & UW-Madison, 2001. "The Dynamics of U.S. GDP and Investment Sub-Components," Wisconsin-Madison CULER working papers 01-05, University of Wisconsin Center for Urban Land Economic Research.

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