House prices, sales, and time on the market : a search-theoretic framework
We build a search model of the housing market which captures the illiquidity of housing assets. In this model, households experience idiosyncratic shocks over time which affect how much they value their residence (e.g. the location of their job could change). When hit by a shock, households become mismatched and seek to buy a new home. Yet they take time to locate an appropriate housing unit and to sell their current home. Competitive forces are present in the housing market since, by posting lower prices, sellers increase the average number of buyer visits they get and sell their property faster. We characterize a stationary equilibrium for a fixed housing stock. We then calibrate a stochastic version of the model to reproduce selected aggregate statistics of the U.S. economy. The model is consistent with the high volatility of prices, sales and average time on the market, the positive correlation of prices and sales, and the negative correlation of prices and average time on the market observed in the data. This is not the case when we consider the perfectly competitive version of the model
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