Housing market cycles are featured by a positive correlation of prices and trading volume, which is conventionally attributed to a causal relationship between prices and volume. This paper analyzes the housing markets in 114 metropolitan statistical areas in the United States from 1990 to 2002, treats both prices and volume as endogenous variables, and studies whether and how exogenous shocks cause co-movements of prices and volume. At quarterly frequency, we find that, first, both home prices and trading volume are affected by conditions in labor markets, the mortgage market, and the stock market, and the effects differ between markets with low and high supply elasticity. Second, home prices Granger cause trading volume, but the effects are asymmetric—decreases in prices reduce trading volume, and increases in prices have no effect. Third, trading volume also Granger causes home prices, but only in markets with inelastic supply. Finally, we find a statistically significant positive price–volume correlation; which, however, is mainly explained by co-movements of prices and volume caused by exogenous shocks, instead of the Granger causality between prices and volume.
The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics – Springer Journals
Published: May 28, 2008
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