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Housing Booms and City Centers

  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Joshua D. Gottlieb
  • Kristina Tobio

Popular discussions often treat the great housing boom of the 1996-2006 period as if it were a national phenomenon with similar impacts across locales, but across metropolitan areas, price growth was dramatically higher in warmer, less educated cities with less initial density and higher initial housing values. Within metropolitan areas, price growth was faster in neighborhoods closer to the city center. The centralization of price growth during the boom was particularly dramatic in those metropolitan areas where income is higher away from the city center. We consider four different explanations for why city centers grew more quickly when wealth was more suburbanized: (1) gentrification, which brings rapid price growth, is more common in areas with centralized poverty; (2) areas with centralized poverty had more employment concentration which led to faster centralized price growth; (3) areas with centralized poverty had the weakest supply response to the boom in prices in the city center; and (4) poverty is centralized in cities with assets, like public transit, at the city center that became more valuable over the boom. We find some support for several of these hypotheses, but taken together they explain less than half of the overall connection between centralized poverty and centralized price growth.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17914.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17914.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Publication status: published as Edward L. Glaeser & Joshua D. Gottlieb & Kristina Tobio, 2012. "Housing Booms and City Centers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 127-33, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17914
Note: PE
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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. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2009. "The Consequences of Mortgage Credit Expansion: Evidence from the U.S. Mortgage Default Crisis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1449-1496, November.
  3. Rappaport, Jordan & Kahn, Matthew E. & Glaeser, Edward, 2008. "Why Do The Poor Live In Cities? The Role of Public Transportation," Scholarly Articles 2958224, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Veronica Guerrieri & Daniel Hartley & Erik Hurst, 2010. "Endogenous gentrification and housing price dynamics," Working Paper 1008, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  5. Charles Himmelberg & Christopher Mayer & Todd Sinai, 2005. "Assessing High House Prices: Bubbles, Fundamentals, and Misperceptions," NBER Working Papers 11643, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Albert Saiz, 2010. "The Geographic Determinants of Housing Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1253-1296, August.
  7. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-78, December.
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