WP-024: Erica Myers, "Are Home Buyers Inattentive? Evidence From Capitalization of Energy Costs" (Revised August 2017)
This paper explores whether home buyers are inattentive to future energy costs. I exploit variation in energy costs in the form of fuel price changes in Massachusetts where there is significant overlap in the geographic and age distributions of oil-heated and gas-heated homes. I find that relative fuel price shifts cause relative changes in housing transaction prices consistent with full capitalization of the present value of future energy cost differences under relatively low discount rates. These findings are consistent with home buyers being attentive to energy costs and are not consistent with inattention.