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Flipping in the Housing Market

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  • Charles Ka Yui Leung

    (City University of Hong Kong)

  • Chung-Yi Tse

    (University of Hong Kong)

Abstract

We add arbitraging middlemen -- investors who attempt to profit from buying low and selling high -- to a canonical housing market search model. Flipping tends to take place in sluggish and tight, but not in moderate, markets. To follow is the possibility of multiple equilibria. In one equilibrium, most, if not all, transactions are intermediated, resulting in rapid turnover, a high vacancy rate, and high housing prices. In another equilibrium, few houses are bought and sold by middlemen. Turnover is slow, few houses are vacant, and prices are moderate. Moreover, flippers can enter and exit en masse in response to the smallest interest rate shock. The housing market can then be intrinsically unstable even when all flippers are akin to the arbitraging middlemen in classical finance theory. In speeding up turnover, the flipping that takes place in a sluggish and illiquid market tends to be socially beneficial. The flipping that takes place in a tight and liquid market can be wasteful as the efficiency gain from any faster turnover is unlikely to be large enough to offset the loss from more houses being left vacant in the hands of flippers. Based on our calibrated model, which matches several stylized facts of the U.S. housing market, we show that the housing price response to interest rate change is very non-linear, suggesting cautions to policy attempt to “stabilize” the housing market through monetary policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles Ka Yui Leung & Chung-Yi Tse, 2017. "Flipping in the Housing Market," GRU Working Paper Series GRU_2017_001, City University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics and Finance, Global Research Unit.
  • Handle: RePEc:cth:wpaper:gru_2017_001
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    File URL: https://www.cb.cityu.edu.hk/ef/doc/GRU/WPS/GRU%232017-001%20Charles%20Leung%20%26%20CY%20Tse.pdf
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Flipping in the Housing Market
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2017-02-10 04:07:43

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    Cited by:

    1. Xin He & Zhenguo Lin & Yingchun Liu & Michael J. Seiler, 2020. "Search Benefit in Housing Markets: An Inverted U‐Shaped Price and TOM Relation," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 48(3), pages 772-807, September.
    2. Tsai, I-Chun, 2019. "Dynamic price–volume causality in the American housing market: A signal of market conditions," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 385-400.
    3. Charles Ka Yui Leung & Joe Cho Yiu Ng & Edward Chi Ho Tang, 2020. "Why is the Hong Kong housing market unaffordable? Some stylized facts and estimations," ISER Discussion Paper 1081, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    4. Charles Ka Yui Leung & Edward Chi Ho Tang, 2021. "The Dynamics of the House Price-to-Income Ratio: Theory and Evidence," ISER Discussion Paper 1125, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    5. Charles Ka Yui Leung & Joe Cho Yiu Ng, 2018. "Macro Aspects of Housing," GRU Working Paper Series GRU_2018_016, City University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics and Finance, Global Research Unit.
    6. Fan, Ying & Leung, Charles Ka Yui & Yang, Zan, 2021. "Financial Conditions, Local Competition, and Local Market Leaders: The Case of Real Estate Developers," GRU Working Paper Series GRU_2021_007, City University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics and Finance, Global Research Unit.
    7. Xing Su & Zhu Qian, 2020. "State Intervention in Land Supply and Its Impact on Real Estate Investment in China: Evidence from Prefecture-Level Cities," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(3), pages 1-15, January.
    8. Daisy J. Huang & Charles Ka Yui Leung & Chung-Yi Tse, 2018. "What Accounts for the Differences in Rent-Price Ratio and Turnover Rate? A Search-and-Matching Approach," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 57(3), pages 431-475, October.
    9. Leung, Charles Ka Yui & Tse, Chung-Yi, 2017. "Flipping in the housing market," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 232-263.
    10. Gian Carlo Delgado Ramos, 2019. "Real Estate Industry as an Urban Growth Machine: A Review of the Political Economy and Political Ecology of Urban Space Production in Mexico City," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(7), pages 1-24, April.
    11. Xiaoqi Zhang & Yanqiao Zheng & Lei Sun & Qiwen Dai, 2019. "Urban Structure, Subway Systemand Housing Price: Evidence from Beijing and Hangzhou, China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(3), pages 1-23, January.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Search and matching; housing market; liquidity; flippers and speculators; financing and bargaining advantage;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • R30 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - General
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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