A time series test to identify housing bubbles

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Abstract

In this paper we propose a new time series empirical test to identify housing bubble periods. Our test estimates the beginning and the burst of bubbles as structural breaks in the difference between the appreciation rates of the Case-Shiller price tiers. We identify the relevant periods by exploiting the common characteristic that lower-tier house prices tend to rise faster during the boom and fall more precipitously during the bust. We implement our test on 15 U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas during the most recent housing bubble.

This paper benefited from comments by Chintal Desai, Thanh Ngo, and two anonymous reviewers.