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Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Housing

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  • Edward Kung

Abstract

In this chapter, I discuss innovation and entrepreneurship in residential real estate and construction (housing). Based on R&D spending and patent statistics, housing does not appear to be a very innovative sector. But in the last two decades, there has been a significant increase in the amount of investment going to real estate technology companies. I discuss the companies and technologies which have drawn the most attention from investors. I then review the literature on two major innovation trends in housing: the growth of the internet as a tool for housing search, and the development of home-sharing platforms which allow homeowners to use their homes as short-term rentals. These innovations have likely increased the efficiency of housing markets, leading to higher quality matches between buyers and sellers, and more efficient utilization of space. However, the effects are hard to measure due to the difficulty of separating quality changes from price changes. In comparison to residential real estate, there appears to have been less recent innovation in residential construction. In many areas, residential construction is artificially constrained by local land use policies, and estimates from the literature suggest that relaxing these constraints could increase economic growth significantly. Finally, I discuss anti-competitive practices in real estate which may hinder entrepreneurship and the adoption of new innovations, and I discuss how innovation and entrepreneurship in other sectors may affect the housing market.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward Kung, 2020. "Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Housing," NBER Working Papers 26886, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26886
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Paolo Martellini & Guido Menzio, 2018. "Declining Search Frictions, Unemployment and Growth," PIER Working Paper Archive 18-005, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 09 Apr 2018.
    2. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Can Free Entry Be Inefficient? Fixed Commissions and Social Waste in the Real Estate Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(5), pages 1076-1122, October.
    3. Han, Lu & Hong, Seung-Hyun, 2011. "Testing Cost Inefficiency Under Free Entry in the Real Estate Brokerage Industry," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 29(4), pages 564-578.
    4. Allen Head & Huw Lloyd-Ellis & Hongfei Sun, 2014. "Search, Liquidity, and the Dynamics of House Prices and Construction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(4), pages 1172-1210, April.
    5. Miquel-Àngel Garcia-López & Jordi Jofre-Monseny & Rodrigo Martínez Mazza & Mariona Segú, 2019. "Do short-term rental platforms affect housing markets? Evidence from Airbnb in Barcelona," Working Papers 2019/05, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    6. Chiara Farronato & Andrey Fradkin, 2018. "The Welfare Effects of Peer Entry in the Accommodation Market: The Case of Airbnb," NBER Working Papers 24361, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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