Empirical analyses of local housing markets
Author(s)Evenson, Bengte, 1975-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Economics.
William C. Wheaton and Sendhil Mullainathan.
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This dissertation consists of three essays on the local regulation of housing supply and its influence on house price volatility. I begin by describing the local supply-side dynamics of housing price and stock in each of 47 U.S. metropolitan area housing markets using a unique, market-level panel dataset. The data are analyzed with a conditional vector-autoregression, which characterizes the dynamic responses of price and stock to an increase in housing demand caused by a shift in employment. These response time-paths are used to create measures of short-, medium- and long-run supply elasticities. Both the time-paths and the implied elasticities vary widely. I use several area characteristics to explain the variation in the supply elasticity measures across metropolitan areas. The results suggest that governments with a greater incentive to regulate housing have a slower house-price response. This directly contradicts the predictions of the existing land-use literature. In order to explain the result, William C. Wheaton and I formalize a general equilibrium theory of a housing market whose local governments determine house price by regulating their supplies of land. The regulatory decisions are made by current residents who already own housing, but the impact of these decisions on prices is determined by new entrants who must purchase housing. The choice of how much to regulate is shown to vary by town size, existing town density, and the amount of open land currently available for development. This is broadly consistent with the results of recent empirical research.(cont.) I also find that the predictions of this theory are directly borne out in data on land-use restrictions across much of Massachusetts. Two types of residential land-use regulation are considered: regulation that restricts the share of land on which housing can be built, and regulation that restricts housing density on a given plot of land. I find evidence suggesting that the two types of regulation may enter the optimization problem of Massachusetts towns very differently, and that towns may regulate new housing more strictly than they did old housing.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Economics, 2002.Includes bibliographical references (p. 120-124).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Economics.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Economics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology