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Loss Aversion and Seller Behavior: Evidence from the Housing Market

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  • David Genesove
  • Christopher Mayer

Abstract

Data from downtown Boston in the 1990s show that loss aversion determines seller behavior in the housing market. Condominium owners subject to nominal losses 1) set higher asking prices of 25-35 percent of the difference between the property's expected selling price and their original purchase price; 2) attain higher selling prices of 3-18 percent of that difference; and 3) exhibit a much lower sale hazard than other sellers. The list price results are twice as large for owner-occupants as investors, but hold for both. These findings are consistent with prospect theory and help explain the positive price-volume correlation in real estate markets.

Suggested Citation

  • David Genesove & Christopher Mayer, 2001. "Loss Aversion and Seller Behavior: Evidence from the Housing Market," NBER Working Papers 8143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8143
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 1995. "Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 73-92.
    2. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    3. Sven Rady, 1998. "Housing Market Fluctuations in a Life-Cycle Economy with Credit Constraints," FMG Discussion Papers dp296, Financial Markets Group.
    4. Genesove, David & Mayer, Christopher J, 1997. "Equity and Time to Sale in the Real Estate Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 255-269, June.
    5. Loewenstein, George F & Sicherman, Nachum, 1991. "Do Workers Prefer Increasing Wage Profiles?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 67-84, January.
    6. Jeremy C. Stein, 1995. "Prices and Trading Volume in the Housing Market: A Model with Down-Payment Effects," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 379-406.
    7. 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.
    8. Eldar Shafir & Peter Diamond & Amos Tversky, 1997. "Money Illusion," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 341-374.
    9. Shapira, Zur & Venezia, Itzhak, 2001. "Patterns of behavior of professionally managed and independent investors," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(8), pages 1573-1587, August.
    10. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1980. "Selection of Regressors," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(2), pages 331-354, June.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand

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