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Working Paper 19-01: The Price of Residential Land for Counties, ZIP codes, and Census Tracts in the United States

Published: 1/2/2019
Author:

​William Larson (FHFA), Jessica Shui (FHFA), Morris Davis (Rutgers), Stephen Oliner (AEI)

*Updated 2/18/2020

Abstract:

We use data on appraised land value from a data set of more than 14 million appraisals to produce annual estimates of the average price of land used in single-family housing and the average share of house value attributable to land. We generate results for a balanced panel of more than 1,000 counties, 9,000 ZIP codes, and 19,000 census tracts in the United States between 2012 and 2018, covering 87% of the population and 85% of all single-family homes; we also produce cross-section results using pooled data for 2012-2018 that have even broader geographic coverage. The cross-section results confirm predictions about land prices from canonical models of urban economics and provide a number of other stylized facts. The panel results show that land prices rose faster than house prices over 2012-2018 in large metro areas, boosting the land share of house value, while the land share fell in smaller metros. For the U.S. as a whole, the land share increased notably over 2012-2018, reflecting the outsized influence of the largest metro areas. The land prices and land shares we generate are intended to aid researchers in urban and regional economics and policy-makers monitoring the health of the nation's single-family housing market and are available for free download at https://www.fhfa.gov/papers/wp1901.aspx.

Note: These indices are works in progress and all data, tables, figures, and other results in this working paper are subject to change.

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