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No Price Like Home: Global House Prices, 1870-2012


  • Steger, Thomas
  • Knoll, Katharina
  • Schularick, Moritz


How have house prices evolved in the long-run? This paper presents, for the first time, annual house prices for 14 advanced economies since 1870. Based on extensive data collection, we show that the past decades have seen a historically unprecedented boom in global house prices. Real house prices in most industrial economies stayed constant from the 19th to the mid-20th century, but rose strongly during the second half of the 20th century. Land prices, not replacement costs, hold the key to understanding the trajectory of house prices in the long-run. Rising land prices explain about 80 percent of the global house price surge since World War II. In the past 30 years alone, land prices in advanced economies approximately doubled in real terms. We also show that gains in the value of land have been the key driver of the increasing wealth-to-income ratios in advanced economies over the past decades.

Suggested Citation

  • Steger, Thomas & Knoll, Katharina & Schularick, Moritz, 2015. "No Price Like Home: Global House Prices, 1870-2012," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112848, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc15:112848

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Punzi, Maria Teresa, 2016. "Financial cycles and co-movements between the real economy, finance and asset price dynamics in large-scale crises," FinMaP-Working Papers 61, Collaborative EU Project FinMaP - Financial Distortions and Macroeconomic Performance: Expectations, Constraints and Interaction of Agents.
    2. Steger, Thomas Michael & Grossmann, Volker, 2016. "Das House-Kapital: A Theory of Wealth-to-Income Ratios," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145936, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Lu, J. & Teulings, C., 2016. "Falling Real Interest Rates, House Prices, and the Introduction of the Pill," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1662, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    4. Schünemann, Johannes & Trimborn, Timo, 2017. "Boosting taxes for boasting about houses: Status concerns in the housing market," ECON WPS - Vienna University of Technology Working Papers in Economic Theory and Policy 05/2017, Vienna University of Technology, Institute for Mathematical Methods in Economics, Research Group Economics (ECON).
    5. Strulik, Holger & Trimborn, Timo, 2014. "Natural disasters and macroeconomic performance: The role of residential investment," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 194 [rev.], University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    6. Jordà, Òscar & Schularick, Moritz & Taylor, Alan M., 2015. "Betting the house," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(S1), pages 2-18.
      • Òscar Jordà & Moritz Schularick & Alan M. Taylor, 2014. "Betting the House," NBER Chapters,in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2014, pages 2-18 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. repec:eee:macchp:v2-1547 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:ucp:macann:doi:10.1086/690241 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Grossmann, Volker & Schäfer, Andreas & Steger, Thomas & Fuchs, Benjamin, 2017. "Reversal of migration flows: A fresh look at the German reunification," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 1-15.
    10. Balcilar, Mehmet & Katzke, Nico & Gupta, Rangan, 2017. "Date-stamping US housing market explosivity," Economics Discussion Papers 2017-44, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    11. Òscar Jordà & Moritz Schularick & Alan M. Taylor, 2017. "Macrofinancial History and the New Business Cycle Facts," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 213-263.
    12. Jordà, Òscar & Schularick, Moritz & Taylor, Alan M., 2015. "Leveraged bubbles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(S), pages 1-20.
    13. Daniel Kaufmann, 2016. "Is Deflation Costly After All? Evidence from Noisy Historical Data," KOF Working papers 16-421, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    14. Kalkuhl, Matthias & Fernandez Milan, Blanca & Schwerhoff, Gregor & Jakob, Michael & Hahnen, Maren & Creutzig, Felix, 2017. "Fiscal Instruments for Sustainable Development: The Case of Land Taxes," MPRA Paper 78652, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. repec:bla:ecaffa:v:37:y:2017:i:2:p:254-270 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Piazzesi, M. & Schneider, M., 2016. "Housing and Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    17. Paul, Pascal, 2017. "Historical Patterns of Inequality and Productivity around Financial Crises," Working Paper Series 2017-23, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    18. Òscar Jordà & Katharina Knoll & Dmitry Kuvshinov & Moritz Schularick & Alan M. Taylor, 2017. "The Rate of Return on Everything, 1870–2015," NBER Working Papers 24112, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. repec:eee:macchp:v2-1427 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. repec:eee:ecolet:v:160:y:2017:i:c:p:82-85 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Miles, David K & Sefton, James, 2017. "Houses across time and across place," CEPR Discussion Papers 12103, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    22. repec:eee:dyncon:v:87:y:2018:i:c:p:106-123 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Naudé, Wim & Nagler, Paula, 2017. "Technological Innovation and Inclusive Growth in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 11194, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    24. Homburg, Stefan, 2017. "A Study in Monetary Macroeconomics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198807537, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • R30 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - General

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