House Price Moments in Boom-Bust Cycles

51 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2012 Last revised: 7 May 2021

See all articles by Todd M. Sinai

Todd M. Sinai

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Date Written: May 2012


This paper describes six stylized patterns among housing markets in the United States that potential explanations of the housing boom and bust should seek to explain. First, individual housing markets in the U.S. experienced considerable heterogeneity in the amplitudes of their cycles. Second, the areas with the biggest boom-bust cycles in the 2000s also had the largest boom-busts in the 1980s and 1990s, with a few telling exceptions. Third, the timing of the cycles differed across housing markets. Fourth, the largest booms and busts, and their timing, seem to be clustered geographically. Fifth, the cross sectional variance of annual house price changes rises in booms and declines in busts. Finally, these stylized facts are robust to controlling for housing demand fundamentals - namely, rents, incomes, or employment - although changes in fundamentals are correlated with changes in prices.

Suggested Citation

Sinai, Todd M., House Price Moments in Boom-Bust Cycles (May 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w18059, Available at SSRN:

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