Finance and Economics Discussion Series (FEDS)
Volatility in Home Sales and Prices: Supply or Demand?
We use a housing search model and data on individual home listings to decompose fluctuations in home sales and price growth into supply or demand factors. Simulations of the estimated model show that housing demand drives short-run fluctuations in home sales and prices, while variation in supply plays only a limited role. We consider two implications of these results. First, we show that reduction of supply was a minor factor relative to increased demand in the tightening of housing markets during COVID-19. New for-sale listings would have had to expand 30 percent to keep the rate of price growth at prepandemic levels given the pandemic-era surge in demand. Second, we estimate that housing demand is very sensitive to changes in mortgage rates, even more so than comparable estimates for home sales. This suggests that policies that affect housing demand through mortgage rates can influence housing market dynamics.
Accessible materials (.zip)
PDF: Full Paper
Disclaimer: The economic research that is linked from this page represents the views of the authors and does not indicate concurrence either by other members of the Board's staff or by the Board of Governors. The economic research and their conclusions are often preliminary and are circulated to stimulate discussion and critical comment. The Board values having a staff that conducts research on a wide range of economic topics and that explores a diverse array of perspectives on those topics. The resulting conversations in academia, the economic policy community, and the broader public are important to sharpening our collective thinking.