A three-stage model of housing search

by Kevin F. McCarthy


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Despite its importance in the residential mobility process, housing search as a determinant of moving behavior has been given scant attention in the literature. This oversight ignores the consumer behavior that mobility entails and limits the policy implications that can be drawn from most mobility research. This paper discusses the reasons for that oversight, presents a three-stage search model designed to remedy the problem, and compares that model with others in the literature. The three-stage search model seeks to explain the timing of search, what procedures are used, and how those procedures influence moving behavior. The paper also evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the model and the characteristics of the data to be used in estimating the model.

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