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House Prices and Rents: Micro Evidence from a Matched Dataset in Central London_x0003_

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  • Philippe Bracke

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    Abstract

    In this paper I study unit-level data on house prices and rents in Central London. I document the existence of systematic differences in price-rent ratios across property types within the same urban area: bigger properties and properties located in more expensive neighborhoods have higher price-rent ratios. My analysis is based on a unique new dataset: the records of a major Central London real estate agency. The dataset contains information on achieved prices and rents for tens of thousands of properties, as well as detailed descriptions of property characteristics. The period of analysis, 2005 to 2011, covers the last part of the housing boom, the bust of 2008, and the subsequent recovery. In terms of empirical methodology, I use hedonic regressions to estimate average prices and rents within cells of observationally equivalent properties. Since hedonic regressions cannot control for unobserved characteristics, I also run a restricted analysis with properties that are both sold and rented out within 6 months: in this way I am able to measure price-rent ratios directly. In the last part of the paper I discuss potential explanations for the differences in price-rent ratios. One possibility is that gross price-rent ratio disparities hide differences in maintenance costs or vacancy rates. Another possibility, related to the dividend pricing model, is that properties with higher price-rent ratios feature higher expected rent growth or lower risk premia. Contrary to this second view, I find that within Central London the rent growth rates of more expensive properties are not different from those of cheaper properties, but their volatility is significantly higher. This is consistent with a hedging model where higher rent volatility in some housing submarkets pushes people to buy in order to lock in future rents. In order to verify the above mechanisms, I use price and rent indexes derived from the hedonic regressions to estimate the growth and aggregate volatility of prices and rents for different property categories. Using data at the individual property level, I also measure idiosyncratic volatilities by restricting attention to properties that were sold or rented at least twice during the sample period. Since the expectations of agents might differ from the actual historical performance of house prices and rents, I complement my analysis with an expectation survey carried out through the mailing list of the real estate agency that provided the property data.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa13p112.

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    Date of creation: Nov 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa13p112

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    Related research

    Keywords: House prices; housing rents; price index;

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    1. Garner, Thesia I. & Verbrugge, Randal, 2009. "Reconciling user costs and rental equivalence: Evidence from the US consumer expenditure survey," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 172-192, September.
    2. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Zoe Oldfield & James P. Smith, 2010. "House Price Volatility and the Housing Ladder," Working Papers, RAND Corporation Publications Department 786, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
    3. Bar-Isaac, Heski & Gavazza, Alessandro, 2013. "Brokers' contractual arrangements in the Manhattan residential rental market," MPRA Paper 43967, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Min Hwang & John Quigley & Jae-young Son, 2006. "The Dividend Pricing Model: New Evidence from the Korean Housing Market," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 205-228, May.
    5. Jonathan Heathcote & Morris Davis, 2004. "The Price and Quantity of Residential Land in the United States," 2004 Meeting Papers, Society for Economic Dynamics 32, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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    7. David Genesove, 1999. "The Nominal Rigidity of Apartment Rents," NBER Working Papers 7137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    11. Péter Hudomiet & Gábor Kézdi & Robert J. Willis, 2011. "Stock market crash and expectations of American households," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(3), pages 393-415, 04.
    12. Goetzmann, William N & Spiegel, Matthew, 1995. "Non-temporal Components of Residential Real Estate Appreciation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 199-206, February.
    13. Ortalo-Magne, Francois & Rady, Sven, 2002. "Tenure choice and the riskiness of non-housing consumption," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 266-279, September.
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    16. Todd Sinai & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2005. "Owner-Occupied Housing as a Hedge Against Rent Risk," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 120(2), pages 763-789, May.
    17. Robert J. Hill & Iqbal A. Syed, 2012. "Hedonic Price-Rent Ratios, User Cost, and Departures from Equilibrium in the Housing Market," Graz Economics Papers, University of Graz, Department of Economics 2012-08, University of Graz, Department of Economics.
    18. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
    19. Jonathan Halket & Matteo Pignatti, 2012. "Housing tenure choices with private information," Economics Discussion Papers, University of Essex, Department of Economics 717, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    20. Zvi Griliches, 1961. "Hedonic Price Indexes for Automobiles: An Econometric of Quality Change," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: The Price Statistics of the Federal Goverment, pages 173-196 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Joshua Gallin, 2008. "The Long-Run Relationship Between House Prices and Rents," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 36(4), pages 635-658, December.
    22. Marjorie Flavin & Takashi Yamashita, 2002. "Owner-Occupied Housing and the Composition of the Household Portfolio," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 345-362, March.
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