Individual sales prices and local vacancy rates in the housing market pose a natural analogy to the wage curve, a popular concept in labor economics that describes how individual wages decrease with higher local unemployment. While housing search and matching models and housing externalities strongly suggest a stable inverse relationship, there is still a lack of convincing empirical research on the sensitivity of house sales to local vacancy variation. Based on more than 10,000 single-family home transactions from the German market, this paper confirms a robust house price-vacancy curve among individual home prices and adjacent residential vacancies. The economic size of the relationship is highly comparable across all four analyzed states: a doubling of the vacancy rate at the municipality level is associated with a 5-8% discount in quality-controlled selling prices. Despite negative price signals, local vacancy distributions tend to persist over long time horizons, leaving room for policy intervention.

Lerbs, Oliver und Markus Teske (2016), The House Price-Vacancy Curve, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 16-082, Mannheim. Download


House prices, Housing vacancy, Hedonic regression, Wage curve