"Ripple" Effects in South African House Prices
This paper analyzes the so-called “ripple” effect of house prices in five major metropolitan areas of South Africa, namely, Cape Town, Durban Unicity, Greater Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth/Uitenhage and Pretoria, based on available quarterly data covering the period of 1966:Q1 to 2010:Q1. Following the extant literature, we contextualize the issue as a unit root problem, with one expecting the ratios of metropolitan house price to national house price to exhibit stationarity to an underlying trend value, if there is diffusion in house prices. Using Bayesian, parametric non-linear and non-parametric unit root tests, besides the standard linear parametric tests of stationarity with and without structural break, we find the linear unit root tests, with and without structural break, provide quite distinct evidence of the existence of house price diffusion, which, in turn are overwhelmingly supported by the Bayesian unit root tests. With the exception of the large middle-segment for Cape Town, the robustness of the results are confirmed by at least one of the non-linear or non-parametric unit root tests, which have been shown to have very good power properties in the presence of structural breaks and non-linearities or regime-switching. Overall, we find strong and robust evidence of ripple effect in the five major metropolitan areas of South Africa.
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