Using listings data, we construct a new repeat-sales house price index that describes house values at the contract date when the price is determined rather than the closing date when the property is transferred. We showthat this difference in timing helps explain several puzzles about house prices, including their strong short-term serial correlation and their weak correlation with stock prices and macroeconomic news shocks. In addition, we showthat a variant of our index that relies exclusively on listings data for recent transactions accurately reveals trends in house prices several months before existing price indexes like Case-Shiller become available.

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