Why Has House Price Dispersion Gone Up?


Money Macro Seminar
University of Pennsylvania

3718 Locust Walk
395 McNeil

Philadelphia, PA

United States

Joint with: Pierre-Olivier Weill

We investigate the 30 year increase in the level and dispersion of house prices across U.S. metropolitan areas in a calibrated dynamic general equilibrium island model. The model is based on two main assumptions: households flow in and out metropolitan areas in response to local wage shocks, and the housing supply cannot adjust instantly because of regulatory constraints. In our equilibrium, house prices compensate for cross-sectional wage differences. Feeding in our model the 30 year increase in cross-sectional wage dispersion that we document based on metropolitan-level data, we generate the observed increase in house price level and dispersion. The calibration also reveals that,while a baseline level of regulation is important, a tightening of regulation by itself cannot account for the increase in house price level and dispersion: in equilibrium, workers flow out of tightly regulated towards less regulated metropolitan areas, undoing most of the price impact of additional local supply regulations. Finally, the calibration with increasing wage dispersion suggests that the welfare effects of housing supply regulation are large.

For more information, contact Vee Roberson.

Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh


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