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Testing for Information Asymmetries in Real Estate Markets


  • Pablo Kurlat
  • Johannes Stroebel


We study equilibrium outcomes in markets with asymmetric information about asset values among both buyers and sellers. In residential real estate markets hard-to-observe neighborhood characteristics are a key source of information heterogeneity: sellers are usually better informed about neighborhood values than buyers, but there are some sellers and some buyers that are better informed than their peers. We propose a new theoretical framework for analyzing such markets with many heterogeneous assets and differentially informed agents. Consistent with the predictions from this framework, we find that changes in the seller composition towards (i) more informed sellers and (ii) sellers with a larger supply elasticity predict subsequent house-price declines and demographic changes in that neighborhood. This effect is larger for houses whose value depends more on neighborhood characteristics, and smaller for houses bought by more informed buyers. Our findings suggest that home owners have superior information about important neighborhood characteristics, and exploit this information to time local market movements.

Suggested Citation

  • Pablo Kurlat & Johannes Stroebel, 2014. "Testing for Information Asymmetries in Real Estate Markets," NBER Working Papers 19875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19875
    Note: AP

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    Cited by:

    1. Ingrid Gould Ellen & Keren Mertens Horn & Davin Reed, 2017. "Has Falling Crime Invited Gentrification?," Working Papers 17-27, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. repec:eee:jfinec:v:126:y:2017:i:1:p:147-170 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Martin Schneider & Johannes Stroebel & Monika Piazzesi, 2012. "Segmented Housing Search," 2012 Meeting Papers 670, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Donner, Herman & Kopsch, Fredrik, 2016. "Housing Tenure and Informational Asymmetries," Working Paper Series 16/3, Royal Institute of Technology, Department of Real Estate and Construction Management & Centre for Banking and Finance (cefin).
    5. repec:kap:rqfnac:v:49:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11156-016-0583-z is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Han, Lu & Strange, William C., 2015. "The Microstructure of Housing Markets," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    7. Alex Chinco & Christopher Mayer, 2014. "Misinformed Speculators and Mispricing in the Housing Market," NBER Working Papers 19817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Miyakawa, Daisuke & Shimizu, Chihiro & Uesugi, Iichiro, 2016. "Geography and Realty Prices: Evidence from International Transaction-Level Data," HIT-REFINED Working Paper Series 52, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D53 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Financial Markets
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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