The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper separates the roles of demand for housing services and belief about future house prices in a house price cycle, by utilizing a feature of user-cost-of-housing that it is sensitive to demand for housing services only. Optimality conditions of producing housing services determine user-cost-of-housing and the elasticity of substitution between land and structures in producing housing services. I find that the impact of demand for housing services on house prices is amplified by a small elasticity of substitution, and demand explained four fifths of the U.S. house price boom in the 2000s.