Fundamental and Speculative Demands for Housing

white and brown concrete high-rise building at daytime

Weicheng Lian

No 2019/063, IMF Working Papers from International Monetary Fund

Abstract: This paper separates the roles of demand for housing services and belief about future house prices in a house price cycle, by utilizing a feature of user-cost-of-housing that it is sensitive to demand for housing services only. Optimality conditions of producing housing services determine user-cost-of-housing and the elasticity of substitution between land and structures in producing housing services. I find that the impact of demand for housing services on house prices is amplified by a small elasticity of substitution, and demand explained four fifths of the U.S. house price boom in the 2000s.

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