Well-being and Housing Market Indicators in Hawaii


This technical report summarizes how neighborhood housing price appreciation can impact the quality of life beyond individual-level impacts. Using the ZTRAX database in 1995 - 2017 provided by Zillow, we develop plausibly unbiased housing measures - price appreciation and sales volume curves - for each area in the state of Hawaii. We then combine ZTRAX with the Gallup data and American Community Survey data in the period of 2008-2017 to examine whether the variation in housing price appreciation, sales volume, or tenure changes are independently associated with the well-being net of individual characteristics. We estimate these correlations in two separate ways, including a standard area fixed effects model and a residual approach. We find evidence that areas with high housing prices contain happier people, but only because those people are more wealthy. In addition, people who have just relocated into a neighborhood seem to be happier than those who have been there for some time. Homeownership does not appear to be significantly associated with well-being beyond its correlation with individual characteristics. There may be a negative association between increasing housing prices and well-being, but given the small sample, our data is not able to detect a statistically significant association. For a comprehensive picture, this report should be read in concert with the paper “Drivers of well-being in Hawaii - Quantifying individual and community impacts” (Love and Garboden, 2019).

Thuy Doan
Thuy Doan
Post-doctoral Fellow in Environmental Sustainability

Thuy Doan is an independent and detail-oriented economics researcher with demonstrated abilities in empirical analysis. Skilled in applied econometrics and programming. Focused on energy and climate issues, especially topics of energy conservation, extreme weather, and natural gas market.