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The effect of gasoline prices on household location


  • Raven S. Molloy
  • Hui Shan


Gasoline prices influence where households decide to locate by changing the cost of commuting. Consequently, the substantial increase in gas prices since 2003 may have reduced the demand for housing in areas far from employment centers, leading to a decrease in the price and/or quantity of housing in those locations relative to locations closer to jobs. Using annual panel data on ZIP codes and municipalities in a large number of metropolitan areas of the United States from 1981 to 2008, we find that a 10 percent increase in gas prices leads to a 10 percent decrease in construction after 4 years in locations with a long average commute relative to locations closer to jobs, but to no significant change in house prices. Thus, the supply response may prevent the change in housing demand from capitalizing in house prices. Because housing is durable, the resulting change in construction has a long-lived impact on the spatial distribution of housing units.

Suggested Citation

  • Raven S. Molloy & Hui Shan, 2010. "The effect of gasoline prices on household location," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-36, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2010-36

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ferreira, Fernando & Gyourko, Joseph & Tracy, Joseph, 2010. "Housing busts and household mobility," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 34-45, July.
    2. Foote, Christopher L. & Gerardi, Kristopher & Willen, Paul S., 2008. "Negative equity and foreclosure: Theory and evidence," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 234-245, September.
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    4. Kristopher Gerardi & Andreas Lehnert & Shane M. Sherlund & Paul Willen, 2008. "Making Sense of the Subprime Crisis," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(2 (Fall)), pages 69-159.
    5. Yongheng Deng & John M. Quigley & Robert Van Order, 2000. "Mortgage Terminations, Heterogeneity and the Exercise of Mortgage Options," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 275-308, March.
    6. Adelino, Manuel & Gerardi, Kristopher & Willen, Paul S., 2013. "Why don't Lenders renegotiate more home mortgages? Redefaults, self-cures and securitization," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(7), pages 835-853.
    7. Marianna Kudlyak & Andra Ghent, 2010. "Recourse and Residential Mortgage Default: Theory and Evidence from U.S. States," 2010 Meeting Papers 33, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Patrick Bajari & Chenghuan Sean Chu & Minjung Park, 2008. "An Empirical Model of Subprime Mortgage Default From 2000 to 2007," NBER Working Papers 14625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Benjamin J. Keys & Tanmoy Mukherjee & Amit Seru & Vikrant Vig, 2010. "Did Securitization Lead to Lax Screening? Evidence from Subprime Loans," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 307-362.
    10. Quigley, John M & Van Order, Robert, 1995. "Explicit Tests of Contingent Claims Models of Mortgage Default," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 99-117, September.
    11. Todd Sinai, 1997. "Taxation, User Cost, and Household Mobility Decisions," Zell/Lurie Center Working Papers 303, Wharton School Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center, University of Pennsylvania.
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    Cited by:

    1. William D. Larson & Weihua Zhao, 2016. "Oil Prices and Urban Housing Demand," Staff Working Papers 16-03, Federal Housing Finance Agency.
    2. Larson, William & Liu, Feng & Yezer, Anthony, 2012. "Energy footprint of the city: Effects of urban land use and transportation policies," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 147-159.
    3. repec:eee:retrec:v:60:y:2016:i:c:p:25-34 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. David Genesove & Lu Han, 2012. "A Spatial Look at Housing Boom and Bust Cycles," NBER Chapters,in: Housing and the Financial Crisis, pages 105-141 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Fesselmeyer, Eric & Liu, Haoming, 2016. "How Do Users Value a Network Expansion? Evidence from the Public Transit System in Singapore," IZA Discussion Papers 10142, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Boehm, Michael J., 2013. "Concentration versus re-matching? Evidence about the locational effects of commuting costs," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51542, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Hymel, Kent M. & Small, Kenneth A., 2015. "The rebound effect for automobile travel: Asymmetric response to price changes and novel features of the 2000s," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 93-103.
    8. repec:eee:regeco:v:68:y:2018:i:c:p:160-171 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Michael J. Boehm, 2013. "Concentration Versus Re-Matching? Evidence About the Locational Effects of Commuting Costs," CEP Discussion Papers dp1207, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    10. Kent M. Hymel & Kenneth Small, 2014. "The Rebound Effect for Automobile Travel:Asymmetric Response to Price Changes and Novel Features of the 2000s," Working Papers 141503, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Housing - Prices ; Gasoline;

    JEL classification:

    • Q31 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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