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A homeowner's dilemma: Anchoring in residential real estate transactions

Listed author(s):
  • Bucchianeri, Grace W.
  • Minson, Julia A.
Registered author(s):

    We examine whether, and how, listing strategies impact sale prices in residential home sales. Literatures in housing economics, negotiations, and auctions offer diverse predictions around this question. On the one hand, housing studies typically treat home prices as an objective function of property and neighborhood characteristics. Yet, the large and robust literature on anchoring effects (Tversky and Kahneman, 1974) suggests a positive relationship between listing prices and sale prices. Finally, evidence from the auctions literature suggests the opposite pattern through herding behaviors. We analyzed more than 14,000 transactions, taking into account observable property heterogeneity, geographical location and timing of the sales. We find that higher starting prices are indeed associated with higher selling prices, consistent with anchoring. For the average home in our sample, over-pricing between 10 and 20% leads to an increase in the sale price of $117–$163. This effect is particularly strong in areas with higher rates of mortgage foreclosure or serious delinquency. Additional analyses show that our results are unlikely to be driven by seller motivations or unobserved home qualities. We contrast our findings with recommendations and private beliefs of real estate agents, who provide services and advice for about 90% of home sales in the US.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016726811300019X
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

    Volume (Year): 89 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 76-92

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:89:y:2013:i:c:p:76-92
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2013.01.010
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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    1. Steven D. Levitt & Chad Syverson, 2008. "Market Distortions When Agents Are Better Informed: The Value of Information in Real Estate Transactions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 599-611, November.
    2. Green, Donald & Jacowitz, Karen E. & Kahneman, Daniel & McFadden, Daniel, 1998. "Referendum contingent valuation, anchoring, and willingness to pay for public goods," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 85-116, June.
    3. David Genesove & Christopher Mayer, 2001. "Loss Aversion and Seller Behavior: Evidence from the Housing Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1233-1260.
    4. Sheppard, Stephen, 1999. "Hedonic analysis of housing markets," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics,in: P. C. Cheshire & E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 41, pages 1595-1635 Elsevier.
    5. Anglin, Paul M & Arnott, Richard, 1991. "Residential Real Estate Brokerage as a Principal-Agent Problem," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 99-125, June.
    6. Curtis R. Taylor, 1999. "Time-on-the-Market as a Sign of Quality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(3), pages 555-578.
    7. Northcraft, Gregory B. & Neale, Margaret A., 1987. "Experts, amateurs, and real estate: An anchoring-and-adjustment perspective on property pricing decisions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 84-97, February.
    8. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Step-Level Reasoning and Bidding in Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(11), pages 1633-1642, November.
    9. Ferreira, Fernando & Gyourko, Joseph & Tracy, Joseph, 2010. "Housing busts and household mobility," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 34-45, July.
    10. Gneezy, Uri & Smorodinsky, Rann, 2006. "All-pay auctions--an experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 255-275, October.
    11. Marjorie Flavin & Takashi Yamashita, 2002. "Owner-Occupied Housing and the Composition of the Household Portfolio," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 345-362, March.
    12. Ronald Rutherford & Abdullah Yavas, 2012. "Discount Brokerage in Residential Real Estate Markets," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 40(3), pages 508-535, September.
    13. Thomas J. Miceli, 1991. "The Multiple Listing Service, Commission Splits, and Broker Effort," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 19(4), pages 548-566.
    14. Ku, Gillian & Malhotra, Deepak & Murnighan, J. Keith, 2005. "Towards a competitive arousal model of decision-making: A study of auction fever in live and Internet auctions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 89-103, March.
    15. David Geltner & Brian D. Kluger & Norman G. Miller, 1991. "Optimal Price and Selling Effort from the Perspectives of the Broker and Seller," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 19(1), pages 1-24.
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