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No Price Like Home: Global House Prices, 1870-2012

Listed author(s):
  • Knoll, Katharina
  • Schularick, Moritz
  • Steger, Thomas

How have house prices evolved in the long-run? This paper presents annual house price indices for 14 advanced economies since 1870. Based on extensive data collection, we are able to show for the first time that house prices in most industrial economies stayed constant in real terms from the 19th to the mid-20th century, but rose sharply in recent decades. Land prices, not construction costs, hold the key to understanding the trajectory of house prices in the long-run. Residential land prices have surged in the second half of the 20th century, but did not increase meaningfully before. We argue that before World War II dramatic reductions in transport costs expanded the supply of land and suppressed land prices. Since the mid-20th century, comparably large land-augmenting reductions in transport costs no longer occurred. Increased regulations on land use further inhibited the utilization of additional land, while rising expenditure shares for housing services increased demand.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 10166.

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Date of creation: Sep 2014
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10166
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  1. Glaeser, Edward L. & Ward, Bryce A., 2009. "The causes and consequences of land use regulation: Evidence from Greater Boston," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 265-278, May.
  2. Òscar Jordà & Moritz Schularick & Alan M. Taylor, 2016. "The great mortgaging: housing finance, crises and business cycles," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 31(85), pages 107-152.
  3. Charles Goodhart & Boris Hofmann, 2008. "House prices, money, credit, and the macroeconomy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 180-205, spring.
  4. Ethan M. J. Lieber, 2017. "Does It Pay to Know Prices in Health Care?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 154-179, February.
  5. Zheng Liu & Pengfei Wang & Tao Zha, 2013. "Land‐Price Dynamics and Macroeconomic Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(3), pages 1147-1184, 05.
  6. Andreas Hornstein, 2009. "Problems for a fundamental theory of house prices," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Win, pages 1-24.
  7. Raymond W. Goldsmith, 1962. "The National Wealth of the United States in the Postwar Period," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gold62-1, November.
  8. Thomas Piketty & Gabriel Zucman, 2014. "Capital is Back: Wealth-Income Ratios in Rich Countries 1700–2010," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(3), pages 1255-1310.
  9. Del Negro, Marco & Otrok, Christopher, 2007. "99 Luftballons: Monetary policy and the house price boom across U.S. states," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 1962-1985, October.
  10. Edward L. Glaeser & Joshua D. Gottlieb & Kristina Tobio, 2012. "Housing Booms and City Centers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 127-133, May.
  11. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 2003. "Computation and analysis of multiple structural change models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 1-22.
  12. Odran Bonnet & Pierre-Henri Bono & Guillaume Chapelle & Etienne Wasmer, 2014. "Does housing capital contribute to inequality? A comment on Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century," Sciences Po Economics Discussion Papers 2014-07, Sciences Po Departement of Economics.
  13. Leo Grebler & David M. Blank & Louis Winnick, 1956. "Capital Formation in Residential Real Estate: Trends and Prospects," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number greb56-1, November.
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