Understanding Booms and Busts in Housing Markets
69 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2011
Date Written: January 2011
Some booms in housing prices are followed by busts. Others are not. It is generally difficult to find observable fundamentals that are useful for predicting whether a boom will turn into a bust or not. We develop a model consistent with these observations. Agents have heterogeneous expectations about long-run fundamentals but change their views because of “social dynamics.” Agents with tighter priors are more likely to convert others to their beliefs. Boom-bust episodes typically occur when skeptical agents happen to be correct. The booms that are not followed by busts typically occur when optimistic agents happen to be correct.
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