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What drives housing prices?


  • James A. Kahn


This paper develops a growth model with land, housing services, and other goods that is capable of explaining a substantial portion of the movements in housing prices over the past forty years. Under certainty, the model exhibits a balanced aggregate growth, but with underlying sectoral change. The paper introduces a Markov regime-switching specification for productivity growth in the nonhousing sector and shows that such regime switches are a plausible candidate for explaining - both qualitatively and quantitatively - the large low-frequency changes in housing price trends. In particular, the model shows how housing prices can have a "bubbly" appearance in which housing wealth rises faster than income for an extended period, then collapses and experiences an extended decline. The paper also uses micro data to calibrate a key cross-elasticity parameter that governs the relationship between productivity growth and home price appreciation. Combined with a realistic model of learning about the productivity process, the model is able to capture the medium- and low-frequency fluctuations of both price and quantity from the residential sector. Finally, the model suggests that the current downturn in the housing sector was triggered by a productivity slowdown that may have begun in 2004, an event that could reasonably have been viewed as highly unlikely by investors and mortgage issuers in the early part of the decade.

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  • James A. Kahn, 2008. "What drives housing prices?," Staff Reports 345, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:345

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Charles Himmelberg & Christopher Mayer & Todd Sinai, 2005. "Assessing High House Prices: Bubbles, Fundamentals and Misperceptions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 67-92, Fall.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dorofeenko, Victor & Lee, Gabriel S. & Salyer, Kevin D., 2014. "Risk shocks and housing supply: A quantitative analysis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 194-219.
    2. Gete, Pedro, 2015. "Housing demands, savings gluts and current account dynamics," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 221, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, revised 01 Aug 2015.
    3. Gete, Pedro & Zecchetto, Franco, 2017. "Distributional Implications of Government Guarantees in Mortgage Markets," MPRA Paper 80643, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Hoffmann, Mathias & Krause, Michael U. & Laubach, Thomas, 2012. "Trend growth expectations and U.S. house prices before and after the crisis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 394-409.
    5. Alessio, Moro & Galo, Nuño, 2010. "Does TFP drive Housing Prices? A Growth Accounting Exercise for Four Countries," MPRA Paper 28257, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. repec:eee:dyncon:v:87:y:2018:i:c:p:106-123 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Karol Jan Borowiecki, 2012. "Dynamics of a Protected Housing Market: The Case of Switzerland," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 49(14), pages 3195-3210, November.
    8. Gete, Pedro, 2009. "Housing Markets and Current Account Dynamics," MPRA Paper 20957, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 24 Feb 2010.
    9. Yang Tang & Ping Wang & Carlos Garriga, 2014. "Rural-Urban Migration, Structural Change, and Housing Markets in China," 2014 Meeting Papers 765, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Moro, Alessio & Nuño, Galo, 2012. "Does total-factor productivity drive housing prices? A growth-accounting exercise for four countries," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 221-224.
    11. Tomura, Hajime, 2010. "International capital flows and expectation-driven boom-bust cycles in the housing market," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 1993-2009, October.
    12. Bian, Timothy Yang & Gete, Pedro, 2015. "What drives housing dynamics in China? A sign restrictions VAR approach," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 96-112.
    13. Davis, Morris A. & Van Nieuwerburgh, Stijn, 2015. "Housing, Finance, and the Macroeconomy," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.

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    Housing - Prices ; Productivity ; Econometric models ; Markov processes;

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