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Understanding recent trends in house prices and homeownership

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  • Robert J. Shiller

Abstract

This paper looks at a broad array of evidence concerning the recent boom in home prices, and considers what this means for future home prices and the economy. It does not appear possible to explain the boom in terms of fundamentals such as rents or construction costs. A psychological theory, that represents the boom as taking place because of a feedback mechanism or social epidemic that encourages a view of housing as an important investment opportunity, fits the evidence better. Three case studies of past booms are considered for comparison: the US housing boom of 1950, the US farmland boom of the 1970s, and the temporary interruption 2004-5 of the UK housing boom. The paper concludes that while it is possible that prices will continue to go up as is commonly expected, there is a high probability of steady and substantial real home price declines extending over years to come.
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Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. Shiller, 2007. "Understanding recent trends in house prices and homeownership," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 89-123.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkpr:y:2007:p:89-123
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Edward E. Leamer, 2007. "Housing is the business cycle," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 149-233.
    2. John B. Taylor, 2007. "Housing and monetary policy," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 463-476.
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    5. Joseph Gyourko & Christopher Mayer & Todd Sinai, 2013. "Superstar Cities," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 167-199, November.
    6. Robert J. Shiller, 2003. "From Efficient Markets Theory to Behavioral Finance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 83-104, Winter.
    7. Case, Karl E & Shiller, Robert J, 1989. "The Efficiency of the Market for Single-Family Homes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 125-137, March.
    8. Davis, Morris A. & Heathcote, Jonathan, 2007. "The price and quantity of residential land in the United States," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2595-2620, November.
    9. Glaser, Markus & Nöth, Markus & Weber, Martin, 2003. "Behavioral Finance," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 03-14, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    10. Robert J. Shiller, 2007. "Low Interest Rates and High Asset Prices: An Interpretation in Terms of Changing Popular Models," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1632, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Housing; Housing - Prices;

    JEL classification:

    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand

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