House Price Moments in Boom-Bust Cycles
This chapter describes empirical patterns in real house prices in the United States over the last three decades. It highlights six stylized facts. First, despite the sizable boom-bust pattern in house prices at the national level, individual housing markets in the United States experienced considerable heterogeneity in the amplitudes of their cycles. Second, the boom-bust of the 2000s bears remarkable similarities--as well as some differences--to the boom-bust of the 1980s. Third, housing markets also experienced differences in the timing of their cycles. Fourth, the largest booms and busts, and their timing, seem to be clustered geographically, with the largest amplitude cycles in the boom/bust of the 1990s and 2000s occurring in coastal metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in Florida. Fifth, other interesting patterns emerge when one considers annual house price growth, rather than house price changes from trough to peak and back again. Lastly, these five patterns remain even when house prices are purged of demand fundamentals such as rents, incomes, or employment.
Sinai's research is supported in part by the Research Scholars Program of the Zell-Lurie Real Estate Center at Wharton.