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Sunk costs and the measurement of commercial property depreciation

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  • W. Erwin Diewert
  • Kevin J. Fox

Abstract

Developments in property markets greatly influence economic growth, monetary policy, productivity measurement, inflation measurement and hence welfare payments to the disadvantaged. Property price bubbles often lead to financial crises; those experienced during the 20th century were often triggered by commercial property price movements. Yet property poses significant challenges for national accountants in producing key economic variables used in informing policy assessment and formulation. To address these challenges, this paper formalizes a framework for measuring prices and quantities of capital inputs for a commercial property. In particular, it addresses problems associated with obtaining separate estimates for the land and structure components of a property, a decomposition of property value that is important for the national accounts, productivity measurement and taxation. A key contribution is to address the problem of estimating structure depreciation taking into account the fixity of the structure. We find that structure depreciation is determined primarily by the cash flows that the property generates rather than physical deterioration of the building. Finally, we provide a framework for the determination of the optimal length of life for a structure.

Suggested Citation

  • W. Erwin Diewert & Kevin J. Fox, 2016. "Sunk costs and the measurement of commercial property depreciation," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1340-1366, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:49:y:2016:i:4:p:1340-1366
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Diewert, W E, 1974. "Intertemporal Consumer Theory and the Demand for Durables," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(3), pages 497-516, May.
    2. Jeff Fisher & David Geltner & Henry Pollakowski, 2007. "A Quarterly Transactions-based Index of Institutional Real Estate Investment Performance and Movements in Supply and Demand," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 5-33, January.
    3. Timothy J. Dixon & Neil Crosby & Victoria K. Law, 1999. "A critical review of methodologies for measuring rental depreciation applied to UK commercial real estate," Journal of Property Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(2), pages 153-180, January.
    4. Sheharyar Bokhari & David Geltner, 2012. "Estimating Real Estate Price Movements for High Frequency Tradable Indexes in a Scarce Data Environment," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 522-543, August.
    5. Robert D. Cairns, 2013. "The fundamental problem of accounting," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 46(2), pages 634-655, May.
    6. Neil Crosby & Steven Devaney & Vicki Law, 2012. "Rental depreciation and capital expenditure in the UK commercial real estate market, 1993--2009," Journal of Property Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(3), pages 227-246, March.
    7. Schmalensee, Richard, 1989. "An Expository Note on Depreciation and Profitability under Rate-of-Return Regulation," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 293-298, September.
    8. Diewert, Erwin & Shimizu, Chihiro, 2013. "A Conceptual Framework for Commercial Property Price Indexes," Economics working papers erwin_diewert-2013-44, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 09 Oct 2013.
    9. W. Erwin Diewert, 2005. "Issues in the Measurement of Capital Services, Depreciation, Asset Price Changes, and Interest Rates," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring Capital in the New Economy, pages 479-556 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Erwin Diewert, 2009. "The aggregation of capital over vintages in a model of embodied technical progress," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 1-19, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Diewert, Erwin, 2019. "Measuring the Services of Durables and Owner Occupied Housing," Microeconomics.ca working papers erwin_diewert-2019-5, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 21 Mar 2019.
    2. Erwin Diewert & Chihiro Shimizu, 2017. "Alternative Approaches to Commercial Property Price Indexes for Tokyo," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 63(3), pages 492-519, September.
    3. Diewert, Erwin, 2018. "Duality in Production," Microeconomics.ca working papers erwin_diewert-2018-2, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 06 Feb 2018.
    4. Diewert, W. Erwin, 2017. "Productivity Measurement in the Public Sector: Theory and Practice," Microeconomics.ca working papers erwin_diewert-2017-1, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 02 Feb 2017.
    5. W. Erwin Diewert & Kevin J. Fox & Chihiro Shimizu, 2016. "Commercial Property Price Indexes And The System Of National Accounts," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(5), pages 913-943, December.

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    JEL classification:

    • C2 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables

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