Fear and Loathing in the Housing Market: Evidence from Search Query Data

Marcelle Chauvet, Stuart Gabriel, Chandler Lutz

Research output: Working paperResearch


We use Google search data to develop a broad-based and real-time index of housing distress. Unlike established indicators, this new Housing Distress Index (HDI) directly reflects sentiment revealed through search queries. Research findings indicate that the HDI provides important new insights in determination of national and city-specific housing returns, the VIX, foreclosures, and returns on subprime mortgage credit-default swaps. Further, the effects of housing distress on returns are asymmetric and stronger during times of crisis. Overall, results suggest that real estate and related markets are highly sensitive to vulnerabilities in household finances as captured by our measure of housing distress.
Original languageEnglish
Place of Publicationwww
PublisherSSRN: Social Science Research Network
Number of pages55
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Housing Distress
  • Housing Fear
  • Housing Crises

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