Shortrun Response of Housing Markets to Demand Shifts

by C. Peter Rydell

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Presents a theory of short-run market adjustments to exogenous demand shifts that is consistent with evidence from the Housing Assistance Supply Experiment (HASE). It is argued that (1) a 1.0 percent shift in rental demand leads to a rent change of only 0.26 percent, whereas capital value can change as much as 5.0 percent; and (2) landlords derive capital value in a tightening market primarily from decreased vacancy loss (because of monopolistic competition among themselves) rather than from increased nominal rent. Using HASE data, the theory predicts that a housing allowance program would cause short-run rent increases of 0.6 to 1.0 percent and capital value increases of 1.6 to 6.5 percent, depending on the size and duration of allowance-induced demand shifts.

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