Downward-sloping term structure of lease rates: a puzzle
A model of the term structure of lease rates in a frictionless economy is developed and its predictions are compared with data on residential leases in Japan. The model shows that the initial lease rate for a cancellable lease must be set higher than that for a non-cancellable lease because the former rate will be repeatedly adjusted downward when the market rent decreases. More importantly, the term structure of lease rates is always upward-sloping for cancellable leases. Empirical findings show a sharp contrast with the theory. Fixed-term lease rates are often higher than open-ended long-term lease rates. Moreover, in the fixed-term lease sample, the term structure of lease rates is downward-sloping. The term structure is also heterogeneous by tenant’s income.
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