by Joseph P. Nichols, Stephen D. Oliner, Michael R. Mulhall
American Enterprise Institute
August 02, 2012
Working Paper Series
This paper constructs land price indexes for a broad set of metropolitan areas in the United States. To calculate the indexes, we estimate a hedonic regression for land prices in 23 large metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) with a sample of 180,000 land transactions from the mid-1990s through the first half of 2011. The resulting indexes show a dramatic increase in both residential and commercial land prices over several years prior to their peaks in 2006-07 and a steep descent since then. Moreover, a decomposition of the changes in home prices into the contributions from construction costs and land prices shows that land prices were by far the more important driver of the recent boom-bust cycle in home prices.