Commercial and Residential Land Prices in the United States

Lecture / Panel
For NYU Community

The Morton L. Topfer Chair Lecture Series Presents this Financial Leadership Lecture


Stephen D. Oliner
Senior Adviser, Research and Statistics
Federal Reserve Board


Mr. Oliner will discuss the use of a national dataset for land sales to construct land price indexes for 23 metropolitan areas (MSAs) in the United States and for the aggregate of those MSAs. The price indexes are constructed by estimating hedonic regressions with a large sample of land transactions dating back to the mid-1990s. The regressions feature a flexible method of controlling for spatial price patterns within an MSA. The resulting price indexes show a dramatic increase in both commercial and residential land prices over several years prior to their peak in 2006-07 and a steep descent since then. These fluctuations in land prices have tended to be considerably larger than those in well-known indexes of commercial real estate and house prices.  Because those existing indexes price a bundle of land and structures, this comparison implies that land prices generally have been more volatile than structures prices over this period.

About the Speaker

Mr. Oliner is a Senior Adviser in the Division of Research and Statistics at the Federal Reserve Board. He came to the Fed in 1984 and was involved in macroeconomic analysis and forecasting until 1994. He then became chief of the Fed’s corporate finance group and was subsequently promoted to positions in which he supervised work on business and household finance and on U.S. financial markets and institutions. He has served as a member of the senior management team for the research division for the past ten years.  His research has covered a variety of topics, including work on financial markets, commercial real estate, business investment, productivity growth, and the pricing of high-tech capital goods. He earned his BA in economics from the University of Virginia and his MS and PhD in economics from the University of Wisconsin.