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Revisions in Repeat-Sales Price Indexes: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?


  • John M. Clapp
  • Carmelo Giaccotto


Price indexes based on the repeat-sales model are revised all the way to the beginning of the sample every time a new quarter of information becomes available. Revisions can adversely affect practitioners. In this paper we examine this revision process both theoretically and empirically. The theory behind the repeat-sales method says that revisions should lower the standard error of the estimated indexes; we prove that, in fact, the revised index is more efficient than the original one. This implies that large samples should make revisions trivial. However, our data, and the Freddie-Fannie data, suggest that revisions are large, insensitive to sample size and systematic; revisions are more likely to be downward than upward. In Los Angeles and Fairfax, revisions are usually downward and statistically significant. This bias in initial repeat-sales estimates is caused by sample selectivity; properties with only one or two years between sales do not appreciate at the same rate as other properties. We hypothesize that these "flips" are improved (possibly cosmetically) between sales. One implication of our analysis is that flips should be removed or downweighted before calculating repeat-sales indexes. The same model estimated without flips appears free of bias. We find small increases in efficiency from adding up to 4,300 observations to a base of 1,200. Copyright American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association.

Suggested Citation

  • John M. Clapp & Carmelo Giaccotto, 1999. "Revisions in Repeat-Sales Price Indexes: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 27(1), pages 79-104.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reesec:v:27:y:1999:i:1:p:79-104

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James F. Gatti & Ronald W. Spahr, 1997. "The Value of Federal Sponsorship: The Case of Freddie Mac," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 25(3), pages 453-485.
    2. Passmore, Wayne & Sparks, Roger & Ingpen, Jamie, 2002. "GSEs, Mortgage Rates, and the Long-Run Effects of Mortgage Securitization," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 25(2-3), pages 215-242, Sept.-Dec.
    3. Edward Kane, 1999. "Housing Finance GSEs: Who Gets the Subsidy?," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 15(3), pages 197-209, May.
    4. Steven A. Sharpe, 2002. "Reexamining Stock Valuation and Inflation: The Implications Of Analysts' Earnings Forecasts," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 632-648, November.
    5. Wayne Passmore, 1992. "The influence of risk-adjusted capital regulations on asset allocation by savings and loans," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 213, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    6. Peter M. DeMarzo, 2005. "The Pooling and Tranching of Securities: A Model of Informed Intermediation," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(1), pages 1-35.
    7. Wayne Passmore & Shane M. Sherlund & Gillian Burgess, 2005. "The Effect of Housing Government-Sponsored Enterprises on Mortgage Rates," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 33(3), pages 427-463, September.
    8. William Poole, 2003. "Housing in the macroeconomy," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 1-8.
    9. Brent Ambrose & Michael LaCour-Little & Anthony Sanders, 2005. "Does Regulatory Capital Arbitrage, Reputation, or Asymmetric Information Drive Securitization?," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 28(1), pages 113-133, October.
    10. Ambrose, Brent W. & Thibodeau, Thomas G., 2004. "Have the GSE affordable housing goals increased the supply of mortgage credit?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 263-273, May.
    11. James E. Pearce & James C. Miller, 2001. "Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae: their funding advantage and benefits to consumers," Proceedings 737, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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    Cited by:

    1. Baroni Michel & Barthélémy Fabrice & Mokrane Madhi, 2009. "A repeat sales index robust to small datasets," THEMA Working Papers 2009-16, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
    2. Michelle H. Dreiman & Anthony Pennington-Cross, 2004. "Alternative Methods of Increasing the Precision of Weighted Repeat Sales House Prices Indices," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 299-317, May.
    3. Liang Peng, 2012. "Repeat Sales Regression on Heterogeneous Properties," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 804-827, October.
    4. Bourassa, Steven C. & Hoesli, Martin & Sun, Jian, 2006. "A simple alternative house price index method," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 80-97, March.
    5. de Vries, Paul & de Haan, Jan & van der Wal, Erna & Mariën, Gust, 2009. "A house price index based on the SPAR method," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 214-223, September.
    6. Michel Baroni & Fabrice Barthélémy & Mahdi Mokrane, 2008. "Is It Possible to Construct Derivatives for the Paris Residential Market?," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 233-264, October.
    7. Silverstein, Joseph M., 2014. "House price indexes: methodology and revisions," Research Rap Special Report, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Jun.
    8. Paul Cheshire & Gerard Dericks, 2014. "'Iconic Design' as Deadweight Loss: Rent Acquisition by Design in the Constrained London Office Market," SERC Discussion Papers 0154, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    9. Paul Cheshire & Gerard Dericks, 2013. "Regulation, Rents and 'Iconic Design': rent acquisition by design in the tightly constrained London office market," ERSA conference papers ersa13p1071, European Regional Science Association.
    10. James Bugden, 2014. "Quality-Adjusted Repeat-Sale House Price Indices," Working Papers 2014.01, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
    11. Marc Francke, 2010. "Repeat Sales Index for Thin Markets," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 24-52, July.
    12. Dorsey, Robert E. & Hu, Haixin & Mayer, Walter J. & Wang, Hui-chen, 2010. "Hedonic versus repeat-sales housing price indexes for measuring the recent boom-bust cycle," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 75-93, June.
    13. S. Jansen & P. Vries & H. Coolen & C. Lamain & P. Boelhouwer, 2008. "Developing a House Price Index for The Netherlands: A Practical Application of Weighted Repeat Sales," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 163-186, August.
    14. repec:kap:jrefec:v:55:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11146-017-9632-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Yongheng Deng & John Quigley, 2008. "Index Revision, House Price Risk, and the Market for House Price Derivatives," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 191-209, October.
    16. Ghysels, Eric & Plazzi, Alberto & Valkanov, Rossen & Torous, Walter, 2013. "Forecasting Real Estate Prices," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier.
    17. James Bugden, 2013. "Renovations and the Repeat-Sales House Price Index," Working Papers 2013.08, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
    18. Arnaud Simon, 2009. "Quantifying the reversibility phenomenon for the repeat-sales index," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 31(1), pages 27-62.

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    JEL classification:

    • R3 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location


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