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Supply constraints and housing market dynamics

  • Andrew D. Paciorek
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    Although the volatility of house prices is often ascribed to demand-side factors, constraints on housing supply have important and little-studied implications for housing dynamics. I illustrate the strong relationship in city-level data between the volatility of house prices and the regulation of new housing supply. I then employ a dynamic structural model of housing investment to estimate the effect of supply constraints on both the level of new construction and the responsiveness of investment to house prices. I find that supply constraints increase volatility through two channels: First, regulation lowers the elasticity of new housing supply by increasing lags in the permit process and adding to the cost of supplying new houses on the margin. Second, geographic limitations on the area available for building houses, such as steep slopes and water bodies, lead to less investment on average relative to the size of the existing housing stock, leaving less scope for the supply response to attenuate the effects of a demand shock. My estimates and simulations confirm that regulation and geographic constraints play critical and complementary roles in decreasing the responsiveness of investment to demand shocks, which in turn amplifies house price volatility.

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    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2012-01.

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    Date of creation: 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2012-01
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    1. Glaeser, Edward & Saiz, Albert & Gyourko, Joseph, 2008. "Housing Supply and Housing Bubbles," Scholarly Articles 2962640, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    2. Matthew J. Notowidigdo, 2011. "The Incidence of Local Labor Demand Shocks," NBER Working Papers 17167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Fernando Ferreira & Joseph Gyourko & Joseph Tracy, 2008. "Housing Busts and Household Mobility," NBER Working Papers 14310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Robert Miller & Peter Arcidiacono, 2008. "CCP Estimation of Dynamic Discrete Choice Models with Unobserved Heterogeneity," 2008 Meeting Papers 1065, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Dennis Epple & Brett Gordon & Holger Sieg, 2010. "A New Approach to Estimating the Production Function for Housing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 905-24, June.
    6. Huang, Haifang & Tang, Yao, 2012. "Residential land use regulation and the US housing price cycle between 2000 and 2009," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 93-99.
    7. Hanushek, Eric A & Quigley, John M, 1980. "What Is the Price Elasticity of Housing Demand?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(3), pages 449-54, August.
    8. Timothy J. Bartik, 2003. "Local Economic Development Policies," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 03-91, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    9. Michael P. Keane & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1995. "The career decisions of young men," Working Papers 559, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    10. Quigley, John M. & Raphael, Steven, 2006. "Regulation and the High Cost of Housing in California," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt3hh7s35m, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
    11. Mayer, Christopher J. & Somerville, C. Tsuriel, 2000. "Land use regulation and new construction," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 639-662, December.
    12. Calabrese, Stephen & Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard, 2007. "On the political economy of zoning," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 25-49, February.
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