Intermediate Macroeconomics

Term paper

Cost of Housing

The term paper you will write in this course is on the cost of new homes. The issue is the recent surge in home prices. In 2003, the average price of a new home in the U.S. increased by 7.5 percent. In the Washington, D.C. metro area the price increase was 14.4 percent! We will investigate several fundamental variables that should explain at least part of the rise in home prices.

The term paper will be written in five parts:

  1. New home prices
  2. Income
  3. Mortgage rates
  4. One other variable of interest (e.g., size of new houses, construction costs, population growth) to be determined later
  5. The whole package with Introduction and Conclusion

I will post a separate description of each section of the term paper that explains the objective and requirements. I will also point you to the sources of data that should be used.

There will be separate deadlines for each part that appear on the Class Schedule. Each part may be turned in at the scheduled class or emailed to me no later than the start of the scheduled class. I will return all papers at class the following week.


The term paper makes up 30% of your grade. The first four parts will each count 1/6 of the term paper grade. The last assignment, which includes making revisions to the first four parts, will count 1/3 of the term paper grade. I hope to make the grading as objective as possible -- did you include what was required, which will hopefully be clear when each section of the paper is explained in detail. A smaller part of the grade, however, will be subjective -- how well you present the graphs and related discussion. In other words, I don't like sloppy papers and poorly expressed ideas. If English is your second language don't worry. When I say poorly expressed ideas I don't mean bad grammar. What I look for is whether you can organize your thoughts and express them concisely on paper.


Your paper can be written using WordPerfect, MS Word, or as an HTML web page with linked graphics. Text should be Times New Roman, 12 pt., double spaced. General rules are avoid using different fonts (section titles should be Times New Roman but a larger font, say 16 pt. bold), avaoid italics (unless it is the title of a book or journal, or Latin/Greek expression), and avoid underlining.

The title and source of graphs should go below the graph. The title of tables should go at the top of the table and the source at the bottom.

All graphs and tables of data must include a reference to the source. Since I expect all sources will be from the Web, the following style should be used:

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, New Residential Sales, Median and Average Sales Price of New Houses Sold. Retrieved January 26, 2004 from <>

For more complete descriptions of how to cite Web sources do a Google search for "online citations".


• U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis,

• U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,

• U.S. Census Bureau,

• U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, Online Library,

• FannieMae Foundation, Periodicals, Reports, and Census Notes,

• Freddie Mac, Economic and Housing Research,

• National Association of Realtors, Research,

• Virginia Tech, Virginia Center for Housing Research,