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Illiquidity and Pricing Biases in the Real Estate Market

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  • Zhenguo Lin
  • Kerry D. Vandell

Abstract

This article addresses the micro-analytic foundations of illiquidity and price dynamics in the real estate market by integrating modern portfolio theory with models describing the real estate transaction process. Based on the notion that real estate is a heterogeneous good that is traded in decentralized markets and that transactions in these markets are often characterized by costly searches, we argue that the most important aspects defining real estate illiquidity in both residential and commercial markets are the time required for sale and the uncertainty of the marketing period. These aspects provide two sources of bias in the commonly adopted methods of real estate valuation, which are based solely on the prices of sold properties and implicitly assume immediate execution. We demonstrate that estimated returns must be biased upward and risks downward. These biases can be significant, especially when the marketing period is highly uncertain relative to the holding period. We also find that real estate risk is closely related to investors' time horizons, specifically that real estate risk decreases when the holding period increases. These results are consistent with the conventional wisdom that real estate is more favorable to long-term investors than to short-term investors. They also provide a theoretical foundation for the recent econometric literature, which finds evidence of smoothing of real estate returns. Our findings help explain the apparent risk-premium puzzle in real estate-that is, that ex post returns appear too high, given their apparent low volatility-and can lead to the formal derivation of adjustments that can define real estate's proper role in the mixed-asset portfolio. Copyright 2007 American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association in its journal Real Estate Economics.

Volume (Year): 35 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (09)
Pages: 291-330

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Handle: RePEc:bla:reesec:v:35:y:2007:i:3:p:291-330

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Cited by:
  1. Cheng, Ping & Lin, Zhenguo & Liu, Yingchun, 2010. "Illiquidity, transaction cost, and optimal holding period for real estate: Theory and application," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 109-118, June.
  2. Cheng, Ping & Lin, Zhenguo & Liu, Yingchun, 2011. "Property delisting, housing cycle and pricing bias," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 152-157, June.
  3. William N. Goetzmann & Liang Peng & Jacqueline Yen, 2009. "The Subprime Crisis and House Price Appreciation," NBER Working Papers 15334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Diego A. Salzman & Remco C.J. Zwinkels, 2013. "Behavioural Real Estate," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-088/IV/DSF58, Tinbergen Institute.
  5. Zhenguo Lin & Yingchun Liu & Kerry Vandell, 2009. "Marketing Period Risk in a Portfolio Context: Comment and Extension," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 183-191, February.
  6. Hazer Inaltekin & Robert Jarrow & Mehmet Saglam & Yildiray Yildirim, 2009. "Housing Market Microstructure," Papers 0907.1853, arXiv.org.
  7. İnaltekin, Hazer & Jarrow, Robert A. & Sağlam, Mehmet & Yıldırım, Yıldıray, 2011. "Housing prices and the optimal time-on-the-market decision," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 171-179.
  8. Shaun Bond & Soosung Hwang & Zhenguo Lin & Kerry Vandell, 2007. "Marketing Period Risk in a Portfolio Context: Theory and Empirical Estimates from the UK Commercial Real Estate Market," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 34(4), pages 447-461, May.
  9. Jim Clayton & Greg MacKinnon & Liang Peng, 2008. "Time Variation of Liquidity in the Private Real Estate Market: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 30(2), pages 125-160.
  10. Zhenguo Lin & Eric Rosenblatt & Vincent Yao, 2009. "Spillover Effects of Foreclosures on Neighborhood Property Values," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 38(4), pages 387-407, May.
  11. Ping Cheng & Zhenguo Lin & Yingchun Liu, 2010. "Home Price, Time-on-Market, and Seller Heterogeneity Under Changing Market Conditions," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 272-293, October.
  12. Christian Rehring, 2012. "Real Estate in a Mixed‐Asset Portfolio: The Role of the Investment Horizon," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 40(1), pages 65-95, 03.
  13. An, Zhiyong & Cheng, Ping & Lin, Zhenguo & Liu, Yingchun, 2013. "How do market conditions impact price-TOM relationship? Evidence from real estate owned (REO) sales," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 250-263.
  14. Sampagnaro, Gabriele & Battaglia, Francesca, 2010. "Reliability and Heterogeneity of Real Estate Indexes and their Impact on the Predictability of Returns," MPRA Paper 23378, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Bond, Shaun A. & Chang, Qingqing, 2012. "Liquidity dynamics across public and private markets," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 1890-1910.

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