Using zip code-level data and nonparametric estimation, I present eight stylized facts on the US housing market in the COVID-19 era. Some aggregate results are: (1) growth rate of median housing price during the four months (April-August 2020) since the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented monetary easing has accelerated faster than any four-month period in the lead-up to the 2007-09 global financial crisis; (2) the increase in housing demand in response to lower mortgage interest rates displays a structural break since March 2020 (housing demand has increased by much more than before). These results indicate either the existence of “fear of missing out” or COVID-induced fundamental changes in household behavior. In terms of distributional evidence, I find that the increase of housing demand seems more pronounced among the two ends of the income distribution, possibly reflecting relaxed liquidity constraints at the lower end and speculative demand at the higher end. I also find that the developments in housing price, demand, and supply since April 2020 are similar across urban, suburban, and rural areas. The paper highlights some potential unintended consequences of COVID-fighting policies and calls for further studies of the driving forces of the empirical findings.
-income households and the fear-of-missing-out for high-income households, both of which are associated with Fed’s unprecedented easing.
D. Accounting for Composition Effect
To mitigate the impact of the change in the housingsupplycomposition, I restrict the sample to zip codes with little change in the median sqft of houses (no data on other property features are available to proxy for the quality of the house). In view of the small sample bias, I restrict to zip codes where the year-on-year median growth rates of the median sqft lie between -5 and 5 percent. Table 5