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This article analyzes the time series and cross-sectional patterns of bidding wars for houses. Bidding wars were once rare, a fairly constant 3–4% of transactions. This led to treating list price as a ceiling in empirical and theoretical research on housing. The bidding war share roughly tripled between 1995 and 2005, rising to more than 30% in some markets. The share fell during the subsequent bust, but it remains approximately twice as high as previously. The article shows bidding war incidence to be greater during macroeconomic and housing booms. The article also considers other potential contributing factors, including buyer irrationality, the use of the Internet in home purchases and land use regulation.