Is there an equilibrating relationship between house prices and replacement cost? Empirical evidence from Berlin
It is a feature of competitive markets with forward-looking participants that a good's benefit and its production cost are equalized in equilibrium and that no resources are wasted during the adjustment process. For housing markets, there is mixed evidence whether they meet this standard of allocative efficiency. Based on a unique data set with rich information on prices and cost, we examine the market for single-family houses in Germany's capital Berlin. At the aggregate market level, we find that prices and cost tend to equalize in the long run. Short-run adjustment appears to be sufficiently fast and properly anticipated to prevent systematic excess profit opportunities. At the cross sectional level of individual houses, we find support that resources are allocated efficiently between different market segments. Taken together, our results provide sufficient evidence that the market in Berlin is efficient.
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