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A Housing Market Matching Model of the Seasonality in Geographic Mobility

Geographic mobility is highly seasonal. Moves are twice as likely to occur during the summer months as during the winter months. Summer marriages and school calendars contribute to the seasonality in mobility. But most people who move are neither newlyweds nor parents of school-age children. Using data from the American Housing Survey, the author shows that the summer peaking of moves is universal: The seasonality is similar for all life cycle stages, for all reasons for moving, in all regions of the country and climate zones, and for both home buyers and renters. The author also presents evidence that the seasonality has been stable over the past quarter century. The second part of the paper offers an explanation for this shared seasonality: While newlyweds and parents of school-age children have specific reasons for moving in the summer, other movers with no particular demographic motivation for moving during the summer nonetheless find it economically advantageous to move when everyone else is moving. These movers are motivated by the greater selection of units available and consequently the better chance of an optimal match, and by the lower search costs of finding a good match. Housing suppliers accommodate this peaking in order to shorten their marketing periods and to secure higher prices from consumers who will pay a premium for housing that closely matches their needs.

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Article provided by American Real Estate Society in its journal Journal of Real Estate Research.

Volume (Year): 8 (1993)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 117-138

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Handle: RePEc:jre:issued:v:8:n:1:1993:p:117-138
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American Real Estate Society Clemson University School of Business & Behavioral Science Department of Finance 401 Sirrine Hall Clemson, SC 29634-1323

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Order Information: Postal: Diane Quarles American Real Estate Society Manager of Member Services Clemson University Box 341323 Clemson, SC 29634-1323
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  1. Colin Read, 1988. "Price Strategies for Idiosyncratic Goods-The Case of Housing," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 16(4), pages 379-395.
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