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A guide to aggregate house price measures

Listed author(s):
  • Jordan Rappaport

In recent years, the United States, like many other industrialized nations, has experienced wide swings in the growth rate of housing prices. To understand the behavior of housing prices and their influence on the economy, it is crucial to have an accurate measure of aggregate housing prices. In practice, however, it is difficult to develop such a measure. Analysts rely on three approaches to measure the aggregate price of housing. The first methodology simply averages all observed prices. The second looks at repeat sales of the same property. The third treats a house as a bundle of attributes, each with its own price that changes over time. ; Rappaport provides an overview of the three methodologies for pricing housing and a detailed guide to the major house price indexes used by housing analysts. The analysis suggests there is no one “best” measure of housing prices. Each of the three methodologies has conceptual advantages and disadvantages, and the empirical house price indexes have practical advantages and disadvantages as well. Which is best depends on the question being addressed.

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File URL: http://www.kansascityfed.org/PUBLICAT/ECONREV/PDF/2q07rapp.pdf
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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in its journal Economic Review.

Volume (Year): (2007)
Issue (Month): Q II ()
Pages: 41-71

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedker:y:2007:i:qii:p:41-71:n:v.92no.2
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  1. Case, Bradford & Quigley, John M, 1991. "The Dynamics of Real Estate Prices," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(1), pages 50-58, February.
  2. Min Hwang & John M. Quigley, 2004. "Selectivity, Quality Adjustment and Mean Reversion in the Measurement of House Values," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 28(2_3), pages 161-178, 03.
  3. Harding, John P. & Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Sirmans, C.F., 2007. "Depreciation of housing capital, maintenance, and house price inflation: Estimates from a repeat sales model," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 193-217, March.
  4. Joe Peek & James A. Wilcox, 1991. "The measurement and determinants of single-family house prices," Working Papers 91-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  5. Jerry T. Ferguson, 1988. "After-Sale Evaluations: Appraisals or Justifications?," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 3(1), pages 19-26.
  6. Gatzlaff, Dean H & Haurin, Donald R, 1997. "Sample Selection Bias and Repeat-Sales Index Estimates," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1-2), pages 33-50, Jan.-Marc.
  7. Meese, Richard A & Wallace, Nancy E, 1997. "The Construction of Residential Housing Price Indices: A Comparison of Repeat-Sales, Hedonic-Regression and Hybrid Approaches," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1-2), pages 51-73, Jan.-Marc.
  8. Case, Bradford & Pollakowski, Henry O & Wachter, Susan M, 1997. "Frequency of Transaction and House Price Modeling," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1-2), pages 173-187, Jan.-Marc.
  9. Jesse M. Abraham & William S. Schauman, 1991. "New Evidence on Home Prices from Freddie Mac Repeat Sales," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 19(3), pages 333-352.
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