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Nowcasting Building Permits with Google Trends

Author

Listed:
  • Coble, David
  • Pincheira, Pablo

Abstract

We propose a useful way to predict building permits in the US, exploiting rich real-time data from web search queries. The time series on building permits is usually considered as a leading indicator of economic activity in the construction sector. Nevertheless, new data on building permits are released with a lag close to two months. Therefore, an accurate now-cast of this leading indicator is desirable. We show that models including Google search queries nowcast and forecast better than our good, not naïve, univariate benchmarks both in-sample and out-of-sample. We also show that our results are robust to different specifications, the use of rolling or recursive windows and, in some cases, to the forecasting horizon. Since Google queries information is free, our approach is a simple and inexpensive way to predict building permits in the United States.

Suggested Citation

  • Coble, David & Pincheira, Pablo, 2017. "Nowcasting Building Permits with Google Trends," MPRA Paper 76514, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:76514
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/76514/1/MPRA_paper_76514.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Online Search; Prediction; Forecasting; Time Series; Building Permits; Real Estate; Google Trends.;

    JEL classification:

    • C10 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - General
    • C5 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • F37 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Finance Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

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