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Housing risk and return: Evidence from a housing asset-pricing model


  • Karl Case
  • John Cotter
  • Stuart Gabriel


This paper investigates the risk-return relationship in determination of housing asset pricing. In so doing, the paper evaluates behavioral hypotheses advanced by Case and Shiller (1988, 2002, 2009) in studies of boom and post-boom housing markets. The paper specifies and tests a multi-factor housing asset pricing model. In that model, we evaluate whether the market factor as well as other measures of risk, including idiosyncratic risk, momentum, and MSA size effects, have explanatory power for metropolitan-specific housing returns. Further, we test the robustness of the asset pricing results to inclusion of controls for socioeconomic variables commonly represented in the house price literature, including changes in employment, affordability, and foreclosure incidence. We find a sizable and statistically significant influence of the market factor on MSA house price returns. Moreover we show that market betas have varied substantially over time. Also, results are largely robust to the inclusion of other explanatory variables, including standard measures of risk and other housing market fundamentals. Additional tests of model validity using the Fama-MacBeth framework offer further strong support of a positive risk and return relationship in housing. Our findings are supportive of the application of a housing investment risk-return framework in explanation of variation in metro-area cross-section and time-series US house price returns. Further, results strongly corroborate Case-Shiller survey research indicating the importance of speculative forces in the determination of U.S. housing returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Karl Case & John Cotter & Stuart Gabriel, 2011. "Housing risk and return: Evidence from a housing asset-pricing model," Papers 1103.5971,
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1103.5971

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Charles Himmelberg & Christopher Mayer & Todd Sinai, 2005. "Assessing High House Prices: Bubbles, Fundamentals and Misperceptions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 67-92, Fall.
    2. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
    3. Piazzesi, Monika & Schneider, Martin & Tuzel, Selale, 2007. "Housing, consumption and asset pricing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 531-569, March.
    4. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Christian Julliard, 2008. "Money Illusion and Housing Frenzies," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 135-180, January.
    5. Lehmann, Bruce N., 1990. "Residual risk revisited," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1-2), pages 71-97.
    6. 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.
    7. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2006. "Housing Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 12787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Stuart A. Gabriel & Joe P. Mattey & William L. Wascher, 1999. "House price differentials and dynamics: evidence from the Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 3-22.
    9. Andrew Ang & Robert J. Hodrick & Yuhang Xing & Xiaoyan Zhang, 2006. "The Cross-Section of Volatility and Expected Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(1), pages 259-299, February.
    10. Hanno N. Lustig & Stijn G. Van Nieuwerburgh, 2005. "Housing Collateral, Consumption Insurance, and Risk Premia: An Empirical Perspective," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(3), pages 1167-1219, June.
    11. Gibbons, Michael R & Ross, Stephen A & Shanken, Jay, 1989. "A Test of the Efficiency of a Given Portfolio," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(5), pages 1121-1152, September.
    12. Amit Goyal & Pedro Santa-Clara, 2003. "Idiosyncratic Risk Matters!," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(3), pages 975-1008, June.
    13. Shanken, Jay, 1992. "On the Estimation of Beta-Pricing Models," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(1), pages 1-33.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Cotter & Stuart Gabriel & Richard Roll, 2012. "Can Metropolitan Housing Risk be Diversified? A Cautionary Tale from the Recent Boom and Bust," Papers 1208.0371,
    2. Benjamin M. Blau & Ryan J. Whitby, 2014. "Speculative Trading In Reits," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 37(1), pages 55-74, February.
    3. John Cotter & Stuart Gabriel & Richard Roll, 2011. "Integration and Contagion in US Housing Markets," Papers 1110.4119,
    4. M.I. Dröes & H Garretsen & W.J.J. Manshanden, 2012. "The Diversification Benefits of Free Trade in House Value," Working Papers 12-03, Utrecht School of Economics.
    5. Eli Beracha & Hilla Skiba, 2013. "Findings from a Cross-Sectional Housing Risk-Factor Model," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 289-309, August.
    6. Stuart A. Gabriel & Stuart S. Rosenthal, 2015. "The Boom, the Bust and the Future of Homeownership," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 43(2), pages 334-374, June.
    7. Steven F. Venti, 2015. "Comment on "House Price Volatility and the Housing Ladder"," NBER Chapters,in: Insights in the Economics of Aging, pages 119-125 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Dröes, Martijn I. & Hassink, Wolter H.J., 2013. "House price risk and the hedging benefits of home ownership," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 92-99.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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