The house price determination process: Rational expectations with a spatial context
Applying the rational expectations hypothesis, this essay models the current value of a house as the conditional expectation of the discounted stream of housing services accruing to the owner of the house. The value of housing services is determined by neighborhood effects as well as the physical attributes of the property itself. In the existing hedonic literature, future transactions have not been utilized to describe neighborhood effects. The rational expectations asset pricing model in this study accounts for expected future neighborhood effects as well as observed current neighborhood effects. The reduced form of the rational expectations model is a spatial autoregressive (SAR) model with two spatial lags. After employing the generalized method of moments (GMM) in estimating the spatial asset pricing model, I find that both expected future transactions and prior transactions in the neighborhood are significant. The inclusion of expected future transaction prices in the neighborhood takes into account the influence of expected changes in the community and factors these potential changes into the current house price. This is consistent with forward-looking households. The forward-looking model generates superior out-of-sample prediction performance relative to both the conventional hedonic model without considering neighborhood effects or the standard spatial hedonic model including only past transactions.
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