A new perspective on the ripple effect in the UK housing market: Comovement, cyclical subsamples and alternative indices

Steve Cook, Duncan Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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An alternative perspective is provided on the existence of a ripple effect in the UK housing market. In contrast to previous studies, the analysis involves consideration of information on the changes in house prices to which the hypothesis of house price diffusion posited by the ripple effect relates, rather than their levels. In an examination of changes in house prices in London relative to other regions of the UK, directional forecasting methods are employed to establish the extent of the relationship between geographical proximity and comovement across the three month window provided by quarterly data. Consequently, the analysis provides a direct examination of the ripple effect which refers to changes in prices rather than the convergence of levels which has become a feature of the empirical literature. The literature is extended further by both the application of dating techniques to perform the analysis across cycles and phases of cycles (recovery and recessionary periods) in the UK housing market, and the use of data from two alternative house price index providers. Striking results in support of the presence of a ripple effect are noted, particularly for the less commonly considered Halifax price index where the most significant results for comovement with London are exhibited by its contiguous regions. In addition, the cyclical subsamples considered indicate comovement to be greater during upturns, rather than downturns in the market. This is consistent with previous research showing London to correct – that is, exhibit differing behaviour to other regions – during downturns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3048-3062
Number of pages15
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number14
Early online date17 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • comovement
  • cyclical properties
  • directional forecasting
  • house prices
  • ripple effect

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