Swings in commercial and residential land prices in the United States

Abstract:

We use a large dataset of land sales dating back to the mid-1990s to construct land price indexes for 23 MSAs in the United States and for the aggregate of those MSAs. The price indexes show a dramatic increase in both commercial and residential land prices over several years prior to their peak in 2006-07 and a steep descent since then. These fluctuations have exceeded those in well-known indexes of home prices and commercial real estate prices. Because those indexes price a bundle of land and structures, this comparison implies that land prices have been more volatile than structures prices over this period. This result is a key element of the land leverage hypothesis, which holds that home prices and commercial property prices will be more volatile, all else equal, in areas where land represents a larger share of real estate value.

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About the Author

 

Stephen D.
Oliner
  • Stephen D. Oliner is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and a senior fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Ziman Center for Real Estate.

    Oliner joined AEI after spending more than 25 years at the Federal Reserve Board. An economist by training, Oliner held a number of high-level positions at the Fed and was closely involved in the Fed's analysis of the US economy and financial markets. Since leaving the Fed, Oliner has become well known for his analysis of US monetary policy and has maintained an active research agenda that focuses on real estate issues and the US economy’s growth potential.  He is coprincipal developer of the AEI Pinto-Oliner Mortgage Risk, Collateral Risk, and Capital Adequacy Indexes.

    Oliner has a Ph.D. and an M.S. in economics from the University of Wisconsin. He received a B.A. in economics from the University of Virginia.

  • Phone: 202.419.5205
    Email: stephen.oliner@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Emily Rapp
    Phone: 202.419.5212
    Email: emily.rapp@aei.org

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