A Dynamic Model of the Housing Market: The Role of Vacancies

Posted: 18 Sep 2016

See all articles by Jeffrey E. Zabel

Jeffrey E. Zabel

Tufts University - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 15, 2016


While the hedonic property value model and recently developed computable general equilibrium urban models assume the housing market is in equilibrium, recent years have witnessed extreme circumstances such as large changes in housing prices, high levels of mortgage default, and high levels of foreclosure that bring into question this assumption. This highlights the need for a better understanding of the dynamics of the housing market and the mechanisms that drive and sustain periods of disequilibrium. In this analysis, I develop and estimate a dynamic model of the housing market where vacancies naturally arise as the error correction mechanism.

I estimate this model using annual U.S. panel data at the MSA level for 1990-2011. The results show that when there is excess demand, prices rise when vacancies fall but prices do not fall when there is excess supply and vacancies rise. This is consistent with the belief that prices are sticky downwards and hence prolong housing downturns. On the other hand, when there is excess supply, there is a relatively stronger decline in new housing in response to a rise in vacancies and much less of a new housing reaction when there is excess demand and vacancies fall. Furthermore, when I allow for a structural shift in the housing market brought on by the Great Recession (2006-2011), I find that the housing market became more responsive on both sides - excess supply and demand - during this period.

Keywords: Housing market; Vacancies; Excess supply and demand

Suggested Citation

Zabel, Jeffrey E., A Dynamic Model of the Housing Market: The Role of Vacancies (September 15, 2016). Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Vol. 53, No. 3, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2839340

Jeffrey E. Zabel (Contact Author)

Tufts University - Department of Economics ( email )

Medford, MA 02155
United States
617-627-2318 (Phone)
617-627-3917 (Fax)

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