Rent Seekers vs. Producers in Cities: Contagious Housing Bubbles Force Housing Price Diffusion on Urban Overdevelopment
33 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2013
Date Written: January 5, 2013
In recent years, housing booms have caused ghost town phenomena in many cities such as Dublin, Madrid, Dubai, etc. This paper derives a theoretical model to illustrate how activities of producers and rent seekers affect housing price booms in city centers and surrounding areas due to overdevelopment in urban growth. Because activities of producers and rent seekers are untraceable, we propose an innovative definition that housing fundamentals and bubbles are proxies for activities of producers and rent seekers respectively. We use data on the Taipei metropolitan area from 1973 to 2012 for empirical analysis. Our results show that housing price changes diffuse from the city center to the suburbs and that changes in the city center housing bubble cause price movements in the suburbs. The housing market acts as a reward system for rent seeking activities, thereby influencing investment incentives. Interestingly, the housing bubble size in the suburbs is larger than that in the city center, verifying the prediction in theory that activities of rent seekers contribute to the bubble contagion. Finally, the current vacancy rate in the suburbs is higher than that in the city center, suggesting that bubble contagion leads to overdevelopment, which then results in the appearance of so-called ghost areas.
Keywords: Housing Price, Housing Bubble, Contagion, Rent Seeking, Urban Growth
JEL Classification: J24, R21, R32, P25
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