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A look at real housing prices and incomes: some implications for housing affordability and quality

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  • Joseph Gyourko
  • Joseph Tracy

Abstract

This paper was presented at the conference "Unequal incomes, unequal outcomes? Economic inequality and measures of well-being" as part of session 2, " Affordability of housing for young and poor families." The conference was held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on May 7, 1999. The authors report that the cost of good housing has risen for low-income individuals. The National Association of Realtors affordability index shows that affordability conditions are better today than at any time in the past twenty-five years. However, Gyourko and Tracy's analysis suggests that this finding may not hold for low-skilled workers at the bottom of the income distribution. The real incomes of these households have not fully recovered to the levels reached before the 1990-91 recession, yet the constant-quality price of the housing bundle they typically consume has continued to rise in the 1990s. Therefore, to afford a single-family home, these households must be increasing the number of hours worked or shifting down to lower quality housing.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph Gyourko & Joseph Tracy, 1999. "A look at real housing prices and incomes: some implications for housing affordability and quality," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sep, pages 63-77.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednep:y:1999:i:sep:p:63-77:n:v.5no.3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Joe Peek & James A. Wilcox, 1991. "The Measurement and Determinants of Single-Family House Prices," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 19(3), pages 353-382.
    2. Gruber, J., 1992. "State Mandated Benefits and Employer Provided Health Insurance," Working papers 92-18, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    3. 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.
    4. Patric H. Hendershott & Thomas G. Thibodeau, 1990. "The Relationship between Median and Constant Quality House Prices: Implications for Setting FHA Loan Limits," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 18(3), pages 323-334.
    5. Crone, Theodore M. & Voith, Richard P., 1992. "Estimating house price appreciation: A comparison of methods," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 324-338, December.
    6. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-1381, September.
    7. Lawrence D. Jones, 1989. "Current Wealth and Tenure Choice," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 17(1), pages 17-40.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jordan Rappaport, 2008. "The affordability of homeownership to middle-income Americans," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 65-95.
    2. Danielle E. Rabkin & Timothy K.M. Beatty, 2007. "Does VQA Certification Matter? A Hedonic Analysis," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 33(3), pages 299-314, September.
    3. Liu, Sezhu & Hite, Diane, 2013. "Measuring the Effect of Green Space on Property Value: An Application of the Hedonic Spatial Quantile Regression," 2013 Annual Meeting, February 2-5, 2013, Orlando, Florida 143045, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    4. Matlack, Janna L. & Vigdor, Jacob L., 2008. "Do rising tides lift all prices? Income inequality and housing affordability," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 212-224, September.
    5. Marcus Dittrich & Wolfgang Gerstenberger & Beate Henschel & Gunther Markwardt & Carsten Pohl & Heinz Schmalholz & Marcel Thum, 2004. "Demographische Entwicklung im Freistaat Sachsen : Analyse und Strategien zum Bevölkerungsrückgang auf dem Arbeitsmarkt ; Gutachten im Auftrag der Sächsischen Staatskanzlei," ifo Dresden Studien, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 36, October.
    6. Lynn M. Fisher & Henry O. Pollakowski & Jeffrey Zabel, 2009. "Amenity-Based Housing Affordability Indexes," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 37(4), pages 705-746.
    7. repec:wfo:wstudy:58932 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Housing - Finance ; Income;

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