The Housing market in Israel: Long-Run Equilibrium and Short-run Dynamics

06/06/2021 |  Yakhin Yossi, Gamrasani Inon
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The housing market is characterized by persistent deviations from the long-run equilibrium, and these deviations affect market dynamics in the short run. Therefore, any empirical analysis of the housing market must identify these long-run relations. This paper estimates an econometric model for the housing market in Israel for the years 1980–2019, where the long-run relations are estimated based on the theoretical model of DiPasquale and Wheaton (1992). We utilize the model to learn about the characteristics of the Israeli housing market and about the factors driving home prices, rents, and construction activity during the sample period. The model sheds light on the interaction between home prices and rents: A rise in rents pushes prices higher as it increases the return from home ownership. In contrast, an increase in home prices reduces rents because it stimulates housing supply. We also find that both demand and supply are inelastic in the long run; as a result, external shocks to the market are mainly manifested as changes in prices rather than quantities. As for the factors behind the surge in house prices that started in 2008, the estimation of the model suggests that about half of the rise in prices during 2008–11 was driven by undervaluation of homes in the preceding period. Monetary policy also supported prices during that period, though our estimates suggest that it played a minor role. Supply-side shortage had a moderate but persistent effect on house prices, and starting in 2012 supply shortage alongside rising household income are the main factors supporting prices. The acceleration in construction activity in recent years closed much of the supply shortage toward the end of the sample period.

 Keywords: Housing Market, Home Prices, Co-integration, Error-Correction Model

JEL Classification: C22, R21, R31