The housing industry has definitely been on the downswing since the summer of 2006. Home sales as well as house prices are down. Inventories of unoccupied homes have increased and there has been a recent decline in the employment levels of the housing industry. Many economists are of the opinion that we have not seen the bottom of the decline in the Housing Market', which is one of the most important factors of the American economy. Recent statistics indicate that there is an increase in mortgage applications; however, at the same time there is a decrease in permits and new-home startups that could affect the economy for several years to come. In addition, another disturbing trend is the increase in home building cancellations during the last 3 4 months.
Elasticity of Supply and Demand
Most Americans consider housing a necessity. "Necessities tend to have inelastic demands, whereas luxuries have elastic demands" (Mankiw, 2004, p. 90). Due to the slight change in price if the quantity demanded increases or decreases, the price elasticity of demand in the home building industry is inelastic. Likewise, the price elasticity of supply in the home building industry is also inelastic due to the fact that changes in price only slightly change the quantity supplies.
Substitutes exist in the home building industry. Like automobiles, there are several homes to choose from ranging significantly in price. In an attempt to protect oneself from the elements as well as protect their personal belongings, people generally invest a significant portion of their earnings by renting or owning a home.
"Market prices depend on supply and demand, particularly the elasticity of supply" (Frantantoni, 2005). When prices for homes increase, if builders would increase the number of homes built hence available for sale prices would eventually taper off and possibly fall as the supply surpasses the demand.
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