NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

An Extrapolative Model of House Price Dynamics

Edward L. Glaeser, Charles G. Nathanson

NBER Working Paper No. 21037
Issued in March 2015
NBER Program(s):   AP   EFG

A modest approximation by homebuyers leads house prices to display three features that are present in the data but usually missing from perfectly rational models: momentum at one-year horizons, mean reversion at five-year horizons, and excess longer-term volatility relative to fundamentals. Valuing a house involves forecasting the current and future demand to live in the surrounding area. Buyers forecast using past transaction prices. Approximating buyers do not adjust for the expectations of past buyers, and instead assume that past prices reflect only contemporaneous demand, as with a capitalization rate formula. Consistent with survey evidence, this approximation leads buyers to expect increases in the market value of their homes after recent house price increases, to fail to anticipate the price busts that follow booms, and to be overconfident in their assessments of the housing market.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21037

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