Summer Reading: Recommendations by Experts on Housing Markets

Global Housing Watch Newsletter: June 2019


Looking for something to read over the summer? We asked experts for suggestions on books and papers to read on housing markets. Below are their picks:


Perceptions of House Price Risk and Homeownership by Manuel Adelino (Duke University), Antoinette Schoar (MIT) and Felipe Severino (Dartmouth College)
Nominated by: Ian Bright (ING)
Why? “People in the US generally consider buying a home to be a safe investment but there is considerable variation depending on income and age and between renters or owners. Further, the risks associated with home ownership are perceived to be much lower than and not correlated with owning shares but are positively correlated with past and expected movements in house prices. The results support suggestions that bubbles develop in house prices and help explain why individuals place more of their wealth towards housing than seems efficient. Similar patterns seem to exist in several European countries but have not been analyzed as thoroughly.”


Building the city: urban transition and institutional frictions by J. Vernon Henderson, Tanner Regan, and Anthony J. Venables
Nominated by: Remi Jedwab (George Washington University)
Why? “Very few papers have data on buildings and housing prices in developing countries.”


House Prices, (Un) Affordability and Systemic Risk by Efthymios Pavlidis, Ivan Paya and Alexandros Skouralis (all at Lancaster University Management School)
Nominated by: Enrique Martínez-García (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas)
Why? “This is a very interesting contribution in an area (the intersection between housing economics and financial stability) that has a lot of academic and policy interest and few references. In this paper, the authors show employing the ∆CoVaR methodology developed by Adrian and Brunnermeier (2011, 2016) on U.K. data that, when the real estate sector is under distress, the tail risk of the entire financial system increases significantly. Their novel work also lends empirical support to the hypothesis that the banking sector is central for the transmission of systemic risk from housing to the overall financial sector. These results are, therefore, very relevant to assess the health of the financial system and its exposure to housing (for financial stability purposes).”


Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities by Alain Bertaud (New York University)
Nominated by: Stephen Malpezzi (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Why? “Order Without Design is one of the most important books ever written about cities.  Acclaimed planner-architect-urbanist Alain Bertaud distills lessons from a half century of practical and analytical work in dozens of cities ranging from New York and Paris, to Sana’a and Port-au-Prince.  Transport, land and housing, labor markets, urban form, and the proper role of urban planning are all covered concisely yet in amazing depth.  Rigorous yet eminently readable, the book is a lively demonstration of the gains from trade between planners and economists.”


Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, its Chaotic Founding… its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis by Sam Anderson
Nominated by: Paavo Monkkonen, (University of California, Los Angeles)
Why? “By far the best “city” book I have read in a long time is called Boom Town by Sam Anderson. The history of Oklahoma City is fascinating! Not so much about housing markets, but it does have a chapter on the land rush settlement of the city (which is an amazing story) as well as segregation and urban renewal.”


Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier by Edward L. Glaeser (Harvard University)
Nominated by: Frank Nothaft (CoreLogic)
Why? “Urbanization has been a global trend that accelerated with the industrial revolution.  Harvard Professor Edward Glaeser presents the basic tenets of urban economics in an accessible manner to reach a wide audience, to reveal why cities have been the spark for innovation and the engine for job creation.  He places the evolution of urbanization within an historical context: The Black Plague and slums of early industrialization have largely given way to modern metropolises that serve as the focal point for economic vitality.  His writing flows naturally and is punctuated with examples he has observed in his international research.  Today in America the urban core is experiencing a renaissance of activity and attracting new millennial households.  You do not have to be a PhD economist to understand how this has occurred once you have read his book.”


Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond and The Dream Revisited: Contemporary Debates About Housing, Segregation, and Opportunity by Ingrid Ellen and Justin Steil
Nominated by: Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh (New York University)
Why? “I would like to recommend two books, one which I have read and one which I am planning to read. Evicted by Matthew Desmond is an in-depth study of the eviction crisis in America. Through personal anecdote, Desmond tells a gripping story of eviction, housing segregation, and poverty. Towards the end of the book, he generalizes to the macro level and discusses implications for affordable housing policy. Beautifully written and inspiring for any economist interested in pursuing housing research. The second book is The Dream Revisited by Ingrid Ellen-Gould, from the Furman Center at New York University. The book brings together several experts to discuss affordable housing 50 years after the Fair Housing Act.”


Photo by Pj Accetturo

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Labels: Global Housing Watch


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