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SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper

Local Economic Conditions and the Nature of New Housing Supply


We present a modified open monocentric city model that assumes that land is available for conversion into new housing throughout the city. The model predicts that positive local income shocks (i) increase the city’s share of multi-family housing in new construction and (ii) lead to the construction of smaller units. We exploit the metro area samples of the American Housing Survey from 1984 to 2004 and find support for both predictions. We confirm that the adjustment process is driven by migration and is hindered by strict local land use control. Our findings imply that tight regulation may hamper metro area level labor market adjustment to positive economic shocks not only through limits on the quantity of newly supplied units but also by constraining their type to single-family houses and larger units that may be less suitable for would-be-migrants.


Christian A. L. Hilber, Jan Rouwendal and Wouter Vermeulen

29 August 2014     Paper Number SERCDP0164

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This SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper is published under the centre's Urban programme.