DP10342 | Buying First or Selling First in Housing Markets

Publication Date

11/01/2015

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Abstract

Housing transactions by owner-occupiers take two steps, purchase of a new property and sale of the old housing unit. This paper shows how the transaction sequence decision of owner-occupiers depends on, and in turn, affects housing market conditions in an equilibrium search-and-matching model of the housing market. We show that home-owners prefer to buy first whenever there are more buyers than sellers in the market. This behavior leads to multiple steady state equilibria and to self-fulfilling fluctuations in prices and time-on-market. Equilibrium switches creates large fluctuations in the housing market, which are broadly consistent with stylized facts on the housing cycle.