The Impact of Interest Rates and Employment on Nominal Housing Prices


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Norman G. Miller, Michael A. Sklarz and Thomas G. Thibodeau

27 / 43




International Real Estate Review


This research examines how well nominal income, nominal interest rates and employment explain temporal variation in nominal metropolitan area house prices. Rather than use a traditional model of real house prices, we explain nominal house prices with a measure of “intrinsic” house value that combines local economic factors with an affordable price based upon what the local median income household could afford to pay at prevailing interest rates. The affordable price variable captures local household income trends and current interest rates. We then relate temporal variation in observed house prices to “intrinsic” value and estimate the parameters of separate autoregressive house price models for 316 cities. We observe that the coastal markets exhibit much greater appreciation/ depreciation rates and much more volatility than cities in the central portions of the country. Here we focus primarily on the impact of interest rates on nominal prices in various MSAs, a factor that many housing analyst have pointed to when debating the existence of housing bubbles. Some markets are much more or less responsive to interest rates than others. Supply constraints may explain some of this increased responsiveness.

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