June 2020

Housing Supply and Affordability: Evidence from Rents, Housing Consumption and Household Location

Raven Molloy, Charles G. Nathanson and Andrew Paciorek

Abstract:

We examine how housing supply constraints affect housing affordability, which we define as the quality-adjusted price of housing services. In our dynamic model, supply constraints increase the price of housing services by only half has much as the purchase price of a home, since the purchase price responds to expected future increases in rent as well as contemporaneous rent increases. Households respond to changes in the price of housing services by altering their housing consumption and location choices, but only by a small amount. We evaluate these predictions using common measures of housing supply constraints and data from US metropolitan areas from 1980 to 2016. We find sizeable effects of supply constraints on house prices, but modest-to-negligible effects on rent, lot size, structure consumption, location choice within metropolitan areas, sorting across metropolitan areas, and housing expenditures. We conclude that housing supply constraints distort housing affor dability, and therefore housing consumption and location decisions, by less than their estimated effects on house prices suggest.
 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2020.044

PDF: Full Paper

Back to Top
Last Update: June 12, 2020