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Cityscape: Volume 13 Number 1 | Chapter 9


Discovering Homelessness

Volume 13 Number 1

Tracking the Housing Bubble Across Metropolitan Areas – A Spatio-Temporal Comparison of House Price Indices

Laurie Schintler, George Mason University
Emilia Istrate, George Mason University

Data Shop

Data Shop, a department of Cityscape, presents short articles or notes on the uses of data in housing and urban research. Through this department, PD&R introduces readers to new and overlooked data sources and to improved techniques in using well-known data. The emphasis is on sources and methods that analysts can use in their own work. Researchers often run into knotty data problems involving data interpretation or manipulation that must be solved before a project can proceed, but they seldom get to focus in detail on the solutions to such problems. If you have an idea for an applied, data-centric note of no more than 3,000 words, please send a one-paragraph abstract to for consideration.

Any opinions and conclusions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Census Bureau or the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The research in this article does not use any confidential Census Bureau information.


This article presents an analysis of five available house price indices that are used to track house prices at the metropolitan area level. These five indices are (1) the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI), (2) the Standard & Poor’s/ Case-Shiller® Home Price Indices, (3) an adjusted version of the FHFA House Price Index, (4) the Zillow Home Value Index, and (5) the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Median Home Price. This study first discusses the strengths and weaknesses of these indices for use in a spatio-temporal analysis. Then, it provides a comparative analysis of their change rate for 10 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) for two time periods: the third quarter of 2006 through the third quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2007 through the first quarter of 2008. In addition, this research constructs a series of spatio-temporal indicators based on time and spatial lags of the HPI for 302 MSAs for the 2000-to-2007 period. The results of this data brief could help researchers interested in spatio-temporal analyses of the latest housing bubble and of house price indices at large.

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