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Do conspicuous consumers pay higher housing premiums? Spatial and temporal variation in the United States

Lee, K. O. and Mori, M. (2016) Do conspicuous consumers pay higher housing premiums? Spatial and temporal variation in the United States. Real Estate Economics, 44 (3). pp. 726-763. ISSN 1540-6229

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/1540-6229.12115


This study is the first to examine the relationship between conspicuous demand and housing price dynamics. We hypothesize that conspicuous consumers would want high‐end homes to signal their wealth and this housing consumption behavior would induce greater deviations from fundamental house prices. We test this by using a unique dataset that matches the consumers’ appetite for nonhousing luxury goods from Google Insights for Search to housing premiums that they pay for high‐end houses in U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) during 2004–2011. The estimation results demonstrate that controlling for a wide range of MSA demographic and economic characteristics, conspicuous demand has a significant, positive relationship with housing premiums. This relationship varies spatially and temporally. Conspicuous demand has a stronger relationship with a price increase in high‐end homes in MSAs with a steady, higher housing premium than in MSAs with a volatile, lower premium during the boom period. In MSAs with a steady, higher housing premium, the relationship remains significant even during the bust period, potentially contributing to maintaining higher housing premiums.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > Real Estate and Planning
ID Code:79271
Publisher:American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association


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