Understanding Booms and Busts in Housing Markets
57 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2015
Date Written: February 2012
Some booms in housing prices are followed by busts. Others are not. In either case it is difficult to find observable fundamentals that are correlated with price movements. We develop a model consistent with these observations. Real estate agents have heterogeneous expectations about long-run fundamentals but change their views because of "social dynamics." Agents meet randomly with one another. Those with tighter priors are more likely to convert others to their beliefs. The model generates a "fad": The fraction of the population with a particular view rises and then falls. Depending on which agent is correct about fundamentals, these fads generate boom-busts or protracted booms.
Keywords: housing prices, real estate, social dynamics
JEL Classification: E32
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